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Grief

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It doesn't matter how many times you've lost a loved one. You don't get advanced credit for previous experiences with grief. You're back at square one. And, right now, I'm grieving the loss of my grandmother who died on Monday, at age 98.

It helps to know that she lived a long and happy life and that she was healthy until the very end and that she was ready to go -- but I am still going to miss her, terribly. Grandmothers are such special people in our lives, and this was my last living grandmother -- my mother's mother. (My mother died four-and-a-half years ago.)

At first, I felt totally alone. I'm now the oldest surviving female in my branch of the family tree. But if I look to adjacent branches, there are aunts and female cousins galore. And I share my tree branch with three amazing sisters, to say nothing of a Dad who is extremely kind and soft-hearted underneath his practical and efficient exterior. (He's a 1951 vintage engineer.)

And when I zoom in on my twig, I have an adorable daughter, who has emerged from her goth-colic period to become a thoughtful 19-year-old; three boys who are at the stage at which they can not be written about -- but who know how I feel about them; and a husband who has managed to survive almost 21 years of marriage to a writer who is either wearing her heart on her sleeve or spilling it on the page. (Lucky him, huh?)

And then there are my friends -- my ever-patient friends, who hang in there when I get depressed or am busy writing or am incredibly enthused about a project or....whatever. I am blessed with truly great friends.

So while both my grandmothers and my mother are no longer here and my heart feels lonely right now, I know I'm not alone. And I can still draw upon the amazing lessons that I've learned from these three women who have left an amazing imprint on my life -- who taught me important lessons about justice, fairness, and respect; and what it means to be part of a family.

And I can look at my own children and see evidence that they understand this, too -- that it's the human connections that matter most in life: either the family you were born into or the family you create for yourself through your circle of friends. So the legacy of these three women -- Mabel and Netta and Barbara -- will carry on through my lifetime and my children's lifetimes.

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| posted by Ann D @ 12:22 PM