It is amazing to me that tomorrow makes a decade. 10 years. I can’t believe it’s been that long and I also can’t believe it’s only been that long. 10 years ago, I lost my Grandma.
I say lost, because that’s how it feels now. I grew up in a family that was incredibly tight knit. A family who celebrated even little holidays like Labor Day with backyard barbecues filled with cousins, aunts and uncles. A family that was centered around one woman. And for 10 years, we have lived without her, grown without her and changed without her. I often wonder if she would even recognize us now because somedays I’m not sure I do.
More than a third of my life has passed without her wisdom, without her love, without her special brand of crazy. Without her I’ve gone through my college graduation, a cross country move, a religious journey (she would totally not approve of), my wedding, and soon my graduate school graduation and the birth of my son. Much has changed in these 10 years.
Most days now I can barely remember what her voice sounded like. What her hair looked like. The words to the swinging song. The way she read Caps for Sale to us whenever we stayed the night at her house.
She’s lost in my mind, in my consciousness. But my heart still feels raw with missing her. My memories may be increasingly bare, but my love for her remains and the love she gave is still tucked in my heart as well.
As I approach parenthood, I begin to understand so much of her that was a mystery in my childhood. My grandma worried more than any person in the history of the world. There was no worst case scenario she didn’t consider, no event she didn’t fear at least a little. She still enjoyed her life tremendously, but now when I look back, I am starting to see bits of myself in her.
It wasn’t that she was crazy, though we always thought she was. She was afraid of losing what mattered the most to her: her family. Which is funny now since it was us who lost her. But I am now really understanding this fear for the first time. Yes, she was frequently irrational with her fears, she was occasionally absurd with her rules.
But what she was really being was a mother.
I don’t know that I’ll go to the extremes of worrying that my grandma did, honestly, I hope I don’t. But I do hope that when my family looks back several decades from now, they know that in all things, I loved them and protected them. That sometimes my decisions seemed irrational or unfair, but they were all motivated by love. They were all centered in concern for the thing that matters most: family.
For there were many lessons my grandma taught me, but loving and cherishing family was the most important. And it’s one lesson that I’ll never forget, no matter how many more decades I endure without her.