Perhaps an odd topic for a crafty blog ... but it'll happen now and again.
It's coming up to the anniversary of losing my grandmother, Honey, next week. The 22nd will be 8 years. Having been raised with her living with us, it was more than just losing my grandmother ... she was a 2nd mother to me. She was amazing. Widowed by a husband with ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease in her early 30's with 2 kids (12 & 10) she was strong, hard-headed, determined, and such an incredible woman with strength and resolve that I've never seen in another. Involved in everything and anything that we all did ... and growing up, as the youngest child (with 7 years between myself and my closest sibling) I was always with my mother and grandmother where ever they went - especially before school started. Now, I don't have the best memory in the world when it comes to my childhood, but there are some things that have definitely stuck with me through the years.
My grandmother was a great believer in visiting the graves of your loved ones. It was, to her, how you showed respect to the memory of those you loved. You visited, prayed over them and made sure that their final resting place was being kept well and not neglected. I remember this. I remember the silent tears that used to come from her while visiting her parents, brother and husband. I remember bringing flowers or blankets during Christmas time, tending to the plants already there. I remember the phone conversations I'd overhear between her and her sisters deciding on who was going to go just before Easter or Christmas to put Palms or the blanket on the graves. As they got older, the conversations were then passed onto my mother, uncle and cousins.
Because of all these memories, I too have come to believe that tending to the final resting place of your loved ones is just one way to show respect for them and their memory. Last year, there was a lot happening in my life just as her anniversary came around. I didn't go. Throughout this year, for one reason or another I still hadn't made it down there. Granted, the cemetery is roughly an hour and a half ... but its a trip that I can easily do without any problem. I didn't go. While I know in my heart she watches over me ... I can't explain why I've stopped myself from going. This year ... I have to. I've been away too long and can't possibly excuse myself any longer.
I have learned so much by having that amazing woman in my life. Life is hard ... it doesn't get any easier as the days go by. If you want something, you go after it and get it. Figure out how to make it work ... and by God ... don't you dare say that you can't do it. If she could accomplish what she did in her life, with all the struggles, you could overcome yours.
I think the combination of going to the cemetery tomorrow, her anniversary coming up along with watching the episode of Three Rivers with an ALS patient has made me a little more sensitive tonight to just how much I miss her.
Photo of my dapper grandparents on their honeymoon in Atlantic City
I miss you every day, Honey. I understand so much more now than I did then. I still wish that you were here to meet my husband, see our lives and share in them with us ... even though I know in my heart that you're watching over me with Grandpa by your side. I love you always.