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Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

Where do you come from?

Who are you?

Have you ever stopped to think what you’ve inherited from your parents? Your grandparents? Not monetary things or objects, but what makes you you. Your hair? Your eyes? Your sense of humor? Have you ever tried to sort out what you got from whom? Youngest Child looks like the male version of me and feels all of my deep feels. Middle Child says that he has my road rage. He definitely has my sense of humor and laughs like my uncle when he gets going. Oldest Child looks scarily like my father and has a combination of personality traits from Marty and me.

I thought about it after I was telling someone about where I got my (lack of) height, a definite gene from my maternal grandfather, who was also vertically challenged. Ordinarily, I don’t think that I have much in common with him besides that and then I tried to think what else there could be. However, I did come up with a few fun things.

  • My propensity for using mild swear words often. Grandpa used to use “damn” and “hell” a lot, especially when watching or listening to baseball and football. Watching him yell at the TV or radio during a game was always entertaining for us when we were kids. My brothers and I used to call them “Grandpa Nick words”. I don’t (voluntarily) watch sports, but I admit to using Grandpa Nick words quite often, especially from driving. I do use stronger words, but not as often. Grandpa Nick words are the way to go.
  • My temper, often punctuated by Grandpa Nick words.
  • Possibly my hair color. Both of my grandfathers had dark hair. My grandmothers both had light hair, so one of them is the culprit.
  • Not a gene, but my enjoyment of playing baseball. I don’t like watching a lot of sports, but I do like to play. Grandpa used to pitch to us in the yard and I carried on that tradition with my kids. I remember him when we play.

That’s probably not all he passed down to me, but he wasn’t a talker so it’s hard for me to know. He was quiet when there wasn’t a game on, but he did a lot for me throughout my life, including paying for cosmetology school when I couldn’t pay for college on my own.

I look a lot like my father’s side of the family. My cousins and I all look similar, like we could be siblings. I have my grandma’s attitude about cleaning and I’m a sucker for any animal, including the injured skunk I convinced my mother to drive to an emergency vet when I was a teenager.

My great-grandmother was involved in theatre, just like me.

According to my mother, I’ve said a lot of lot things similar to what my father has said. I never met him. I have my mother’s laugh.

I find it all amazing, these links. Seeing and learning all of these things makes me feel connected to my past, to my history.

I’m not alone. I came from somewhere.

Where did you come from?

Tell me.

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My family held our memorial service for my grandma this past weekend. It was held in a little rural church and was attended by not only family, but friends from years past, some of them were my parent’s friends from before I was born. It was a small, intimate service followed by a luncheon that gave us all a chance to mingle and talk about our memories of Grandma.

My cousin had put together a beautiful video composed of pictures of Grandma set to music. The photos were delightful; I had never seen many of them. there was even one of her as a baby with her father, who died when she was three years old. There were pictures of our parents as they were growing up and many of us cousins, then our children. I spoke after the video, that had been scheduled beforehand, and then the floor opened up to let others speak.

My great-aunt spoke, telling us all that my grandpa once said he’d married an angel. My brother/cousin spoke (see previous posts for that explanation if you don’t know the story) about our family and the kind of woman that Grandma was. My aunt spoke, highlighting how Grandma would take care of anybody that was brought home, no matter what. My cousin, the same one who put the video together, spoke about how we were all important to Grandma, how she saved everything that we ever made for her, including some 30-year-old Christmas cookies that she found when going through Grandma’s many boxes of treasures. It was all at the same time heartbreaking and wonderful to hear that such a life had been lived, that one woman could have made that big of an impact on so many lives because of her love. Four children, nine grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and countless others are testament to that love.

So, here’s my question to you: How will your loved ones remember you when you’re gone? We’re all going to die one day, whether we like thinking about it or not. Some of us will have grand funerals with all the trimmings, some will have smaller, quieter services, and some, by request or other circumstances, will have no service. It doesn’t matter what your send-off looks like, how will you be remembered?

Were you kind?

Did you love openly and without abandon or was your love rationed out?

Did you give your children your time or brush them off?

Did you forgive those who hurt you or did you hold onto the pain?

Did you hold grudges on minor issues or did you learn to let them go?

Did you discriminate or did you get to know a person’s soul instead of their color or religion?

Did you do your share or let others carry you?

Did you learn from your mistakes or make them over and again?

Did you apologize to those you hurt and mean it, or did you shirk the blame and continue the cycle?

Did you have integrity? Did you do the right thing when no one was looking?

Did you blame others for your mistakes or did you suck it up and take responsibility?

Did you accept what life handed you or did you push to find your own way?

Did you laugh?

Could you find the beauty in life, even during dark times?

Were you happy?

I’ve been thinking about all of things in the last couple of days. We’re all flawed, sometimes in serious ways, and we usually get on the best we can. Sometimes we recognize what we need to work on, sometimes we don’t. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, there are things that I wish I could do over again that I can’t make right. I know that I have some things that I still want to get right that I can work on before my time comes.

The thought of death as something so final frightens us, depresses us, so we push it away to think about another day until it happens, and then we can’t, because it’s over. Don’t put it off until it’s too late; we don’t know how much time we have left. Put your phone away and play with your children. Tell someone that you love them. Patch up the silly argument that you had with your sister a decade ago and move on. Meanwhile, I’ll be learning from some mistakes and work harder at finding the beauty in life, among other things.

A presto.

 

 

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