I cry a lot. It’s a well known fact among my family and closest friends that I can almost instantly be reduced to tears with a song, a memory, a book, a movie, the list goes on and on… It’s not an ugly Kim K cry, generally it’s tears streaming down my face while I continue talking, singing, whatever. I have a very strong opinion that my tears are just overwhelming emotions (good and bad) that need to escape. So they do, through my eyes.
I’m also fairly certain that my tears have an identity that is all their own. I could probably give them each names because that is how much they are separate from my identity. They appear when I don’t realize they should be there. It’s not even close to that week, I’m just driving my kids to school, they aren’t even fighting, we’re perfectly on schedule, I mean really, there is no reason that tears should be streaming down my face.
And then I realize.
It’s October 21, 2016 and tomorrow my grandma will have been gone for six years.
It crept up on me so unexpectedly. I think about her all the time, remember those “white boy kisses” she received just weeks before she was gone. I hear her singing How Great Thou Art. I wonder what she would think of my new family.
This week I’ve really been thinking about my life growing up.
Cousins playing together, huge family dinners with no less that 13 people present, this feeling of belonging. The feeling of family.
My sister, husband, and two boys moved back to Colorado earlier this year and it’s been so incredible. Weekend trips that include hiking, Elitches, camping, and even better, just being lazy when we need to not have plans. There are six out of seven cousins that create games to play together, that fight over whose apple juice that belonged to, that finally, after 45 minutes of arguing, agree on Zootopia for the movie choice.
We’ve been praying that the missing brother, his wife, and the youngest (and probably the cutest) cousin will have their request approved and they’ll be stationed to Colorado sooner rather than later. They need to get here because I have this vision of Christmas dinner with an absurd amount of family present, trying to fit as many people as possible around a couple tables. There’s currently 16 of us and we still have a wedding to do, and more babies to add.
It has occurred to me, my grandchildren, nieces, and nephews do not need to know about our divided family. It won’t be something we talk about because it’s painful. They don’t need to know about the huge family dinners that disappeared when my grandparents separated. It hurts, looking back on that time, knowing that my relationship with my first cousins will never be the same. But I’m also filled with hope. That this new generation of cousins, and the next generation that will make me a grandma and a great aunt, these babies will know how valuable family is. How important it is to spend as much time as possible with these people because they will carry you. They will celebrate you. They will care intensely for you.
Their bodies will remember when my siblings and I have gone before they do, and the tears will fall but I pray the tears are good. The tears are for incredible memories that we made.
Rest in peace grandma. You are so missed and still so appreciated.