Christmas is here, and I haven’t heard from him since his last text before thanksgiving that stated he would call–but he didn’t. I didn’t realize until I read through some of my older posts how far I have come emotionally and spiritually again. My past posts on DUDE, specifically “My Heart is Taken” has shown me this. My trust that God would take away the heart-ache has come true. I do have small reminders every once an a while–a dream, a photo, a friend mentions something. BUT–Today I am determined to believe that I won’t be the one standing awkwardly if we meet again. Of course there is always that twinge of ache that one feels when running into someone they love–that doesn’t seem to love them back, but I am determined it will not be as horrible as I imagine. Especially since I have this hope.
These thoughts give me more hope for what I want–for God to show me a man to have a family with, grow old with, play with for the rest of my life. DUDE seemed to be Mr. Perfect, but I need to remind myself that it is not me that gets to choose. I need to hand it over. I have found that the hardest days to do this are not weekdays–but Sundays. You would think that going to church would make my heart stronger. Sometimes watching the kids with their moms in the pews makes my heart wrench. I know that I am no where financially ready for a child, a wedding, anything else I WANT. That doesn’t take away the ache. I am sure he is out there somewhere….I just do not know where.
Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I have a card with no stamp that I never sent. It’s recipient will never get it because I never put it in the mail. I was planning on handing it to her on Christmas Eve. Last Monday GRANDMA-H tripped, had heart failure–no one has really told me yet, but this Friday was the funeral and Saturday was church and burial. (Catholic Funerals have 3 parts…viewing, church, burial.) It wasn’t something I was prepared for.
GRANDMA-K passed away 2 years ago this upcoming February. I still bust out into tears for that loss–and I was able to say goodbye. I last spoke with GRANDMA-H about two weeks after Thanksgiving. We didn’t talk much. She sent me cards for holidays and birthdays. She was up for Thanksgiving with our family this year–but we haven’t had a family Christmas on the H side since 2005. My fathers family does not get along. The last thanksgiving was like an episode of Jerry Springer. Aunt-K slapped Aunt-M and Dad cursed them both out. There weren’t many great memories after I reached an age old enough to understand the twisted workings of my family. Life was a lot easier when I could believe that my aunts were just a little weird and my father had a natural temper–not something he was raised into.
When I was little Grandma-H would do anything for her grand-kids. When we went over to Grandma-H’s house we knew we were going to do something fun. She would play with us. She would buy us toys. Once she even got me an my BRO ducks. A white duck and a Mallard or some sort. We had so much fun with our pet ducks. At the age of 19 I tried to save a terrier from death and couldn’t keep it. GRANDMA-H took it. She loved all animals. She was a sucker for those animal protection commercials. She had the car tags that had the animals. She had cows and chickens and any other invalid animal she could save. GRANDMA-H lived really close to us when we were little. We went over for all the holidays. I remember that when she colored with us she couldn’t stay in between the lines. (At least that is how I remember it) I remember that her MAC-n-CHEESE tasted different from moms. I remember that she loved us even when we were brats. (and all kids can be brats) When I was a senior in high school she took me on a trip to NYC. (NOV. 2001)
Then I grew up. It all started after a call from AUNT-K. I was at school (college-undergrad) She was screaming into the phone. I started to cry. Why was she mad at me? What had I done? I had visited grandma and in an impromptu visit to grandma had led me to AUNT-M’s house. Who has two kids. I took LITTLE-CUZ-B and LITTLE-CUZ-G to the flea market for a half of a day. They looked awful. They looked neglected. I had been a camp counselor for long enough to know–sending them back to their house was going to be hard.
I went home and told my mother and father–they needed to do something. ANYTHING. I told them something wasn’t right. They did call Children’s services and found that there was a case being built against AUNT-M and her new husband. Mom who worked for the state at the time looked up some of the past charges (A large amount of animal cruelty was charged against them) Then we found out GRANDMA-H was watching my 2 cousins because the state was involved in a children services case. GRANDMA-H wasn’t allowed to watch them anymore because they wanted the boys further away. GRANDMA-H had also done some abusive things to the boys. AUNT-M called us and asked mom and dad to take in the two boys. It took them two days to decide to accept. They knew what it would mean. AUNT-K called with nasty words again–“Why didn’t they ask me?” GRANDMA-H called with nasty words “Your just going to die” (to my father).
Of course this was just a nasty cycle. My family forgave–AUNT-K (more level headed than AUNT-M believe it or not) called and apologized. GRANDMA-H came out to visit the two boys. Then she left and made a false accusation to children’s services about ME. Luckily the social worker thought that she wasn’t telling the truth. I was appalled. My mom was appalled. My father said “welcome to the family.”
She called and apologized. The boys custody battle ended with them going to other family living arrangements. Their biological father and biological mother. They both lived with us for about two years.
After that, nothing really went back to what it was. We used to be able to at least get together for short amounts of holiday time. It took a couple years but GRANDMA-H started visiting her sons and daughters separately. Sometimes GRANDMA-H’s visits were nice. Sometimes she said things that didn’t make any sense.
Me and mom thought that she had the onset of Alzheimer. She didn’t seem to be completely there. Every time I went to her house it seemed to look worse. Mom said there were paths through the house, a room just for the dogs, the upstairs just shut up. The kitchen full of leftovers. She shouldn’t have been in the house–but how do you move an old farm wife away from the farm?
When GRANDMA-K died I was devastated. I loved GRANDMA-K and pretty much want to be just like her. She knew I didn’t get along with GRANDMA-H very well–or at least held some animosity because of the pain she caused the family and me. After GRANDMA-K was gone though I could hear her voice “You go visit Grandma…she loves you… ” GRANDMA-K called everyone, she spoke to GRANDMA-H often. I did go visit her. The last time I made it up she was in a nursing home. When I got there I found that it was quite large and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to locate her.
I went up to the front desk and asked if anyone knew H. More than 5 nursed turned around very excited to tell me how wonderful my GRANDMA-H was. When they took me to her GRANDMA-H walked me down to the cafeteria. On the way she was saying hi to everyone–by name.
It is sad to me that the strongest memories of my grandmother are not so good. At the funeral it was hard to stand next to AUNT-M, and force myself to be sorry for a person that neglected her children. I AM genuinely sad about loosing my GRANDMA-H, but it is a twisted torn sadness that is very different from other grief. I was still working on forgiving her….for so much more than what is even written here. Things that I am still learning about from my father and mother.
I want to remember the good things. I want to remember her voice on the phone telling me that she loves me and my brother. I want to remember that she send me a card with cash for almost every holiday you could imagine. I want to remember that she promised to take me shopping the next time I went up and visited her. I want to remember the Christmas’s, Thanksgivings, Easters that we did spend at GRANDMA-H’s. I never saw Santa anywhere but at GRANDMA-H’s. She got Santa to come every Christmas Eve–some farmer dressed in a red suit that made our night.
GRANDMA-H was a little bit quirky. She didn’t put covers on her leftovers before putting them in the fridge. She had a room for her two toy dogs (that they destroyed). She spent lots of money on making sure her hair was done and she didn’t have grays. She had a temper and it could snap in an instant on you. She was easily persuaded to believe something of gossip—and fight back. She lost her keys and her phone often. She ran red lights with me in the car….She tried to be perfect, but no body is , not even grandma’s. At her wake I saw and heard people say over and over “your grandmother was so nice.” Even people that I did not know. She did things undercover. She was involved in the Alter Rosary Society.She did Eucharistic Adoration. She visited the nursing home even after she left–because she had friends there. She walked almost everyday with her neighbor. She talked on the phone almost everyday with a distant cousin of mine. She gave me huge hugs when GRANDMA-K died. She didn’t always get things right….but sometimes she did.
And on that note.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen