Tonight is a bad night. Hormones stretch from extreme to extreme and I’m looking through old pictures (uploading to Shutterfly and saving to Flash Drive) and crying at all the people I see that are no longer here. I seem to be partly in the past, partly in a world that could have been, and partly lost.
I see my Mamaw J that died last year. She won’t see her great-grandchildren grow up. She won’t meet the newest grandchild that is the only boy of the only grandson who will get to carry on the family name. She would have been so happy to see this little boy. And her husband who died over ten years ago would have been ecstatic to know the family name would carry on. (Y’all know how men are about their legacies.)
I see my father-in-law that never met five of his grandchildren. Two of which are my husband’s and three of which are my brother-in-law’s. If he had lived, he would have known about another grandson and a granddaughter by his oldest son (my husband), one granddaughter by blood and two more from the heart from my brother-in-law.
They missed so much. My Mamaw J lived a long, full life. She raised five kids, met eleven grandchildren, and so many great-grandchildren (I lost count a long time ago). I can remember my kids going to her house and her giving them cookies. I told her it was too close to supper time. She looked at me (with that look that always scared me half to death) and informed me it was HER house and they would have whatever she gave them. I laugh now. That is a grandmother’s perogative.
My father-in-law was taken so many years before his time. He was a second father to me and died before I even admitted it to myself. He never met my youngest son. He never met my husband’s daughter. He never saw his middle child released from prison and become the man he was supposed to be. He never saw that son marry a wonderful woman who already had two lovely daughters we all gladly accepted into the family. He never met the newest granddaughter that they gave him.
So much loss. I wish my Mamaw J had gotten to meet my children. I wish my Papaw J had gotten to meet my children. I wish my father-in-law had gotten to meet my second child. I wish they had all seen that I made more of my life than what they saw before they passed.
My Granddaddy M died when I was young. My Grandmother M died when I was divorcing my ex-husband (she had Alzheimer’s and so didn’t realize what was happening). My Papaw died the year before I divorced (and thankfully never knew what I was going through). So many people I loved, that never knew that I actually turned out okay. Maybe not wonderfully, but okay.
I wish they had known my children. I wish my children had known them. But it was not to be.
I remember my Great-Grandmother — my mother’s mother’s mother. Grandma E gave me a love of poetry. She still pulled water from a well she actually had on her back porch. She outlived two husbands, a son, and a grandson. She was an incredibly strong woman.
I remember my Great-grandfather — my father’s mother’s father. Papa W was a mean SOB. (I’m sorry for the language, but he was). He scared me when I was little. He helped me learn my times tables (how many of you remember them being called that!) because I was too scared of him to get them wrong. He was mean to my Grandmother M, (his own daughter) who was one ofthe sweetest ladies I have ever known and welcomed him into her home to care for him.
But I am more like my Mamaw. She was a STRONG woman (like her mother, Grandma E). She was blunt, and honest. She saw no point in being tactful. She said what she meant, and she meant what she said. She was a survivor and I envied her. I still do in a lot of ways. I wish I had her courage, her strength, her faith.
My Grandmother M was a Lady. Not that my Mamaw J wasn’t, but Grandmother M was a gentler creature. Her strength was quiet, tactful. She would shame us into behaving. They both threatened to spank us when we misbehaved — the difference is that I believed Mamaw J. When I doubted Grandmother M, she proved me wrong and spanked me! She hurt my pride more than my rear, but she actually SPANKED ME!!!!!! Unbelievable. I smile when I remember her. I wish I were much more like her. I wish I had her gentleness, her gift for laughter, her capacity for forgiveness.
My father-in-law, Papa B, was a gentleman. As is his son. As I hope my boys will be. He will never know how much he meant to me because I didn’t know until it was too late. I remember his ready laugh. I remember how he welcomed me into his family like I was a foregone conclusion. I remember his laugh; his smile; the way he called my son “Sport.” I remember how he said “It’s a shame to spank a boy just ’cause he feels good,” and he’d laugh. I didn’t know what he meant then (I didn’t have any kids), but I do now. Sometimes, my boys don’t get spankings because I hear my father-in-law laughing those words in my ear.
I miss them all. I miss being able to turn to any one of them. My Grandmother M made me want to be as gentle-natured as her, getting my children to mind by shaming them into being better boys. My Mamaw J made me want to be as strong as her and raise my boys to be “men.” My Papa B made me want to laugh at their antics while still teaching them right from wrong, to be gentlemen, but to be MEN.
I miss them all. And my children miss them even if they don’t know what they miss. It is said that you are supposed to learn from the past. I just wish I could really show my children the people they missed. I really wish they could “know” them. They don’t know what they missed. But I hope those that have passed on are proud of what my husband and I have created………and are looking down from Heaven smiling, and protecting and guiding the next generation.
Who do you miss? Why do you miss them? Please comment and let me know I’m not alone.