As this time comes around each year I am thinking about all that I am grateful for. My family is healthy and happy and I have so many things to be thankful for. This eve of thanksgiving, 6 years ago was also the day that my Grandmother past away and I have used this day as a time to grieve the loss of both my grandparents and also remember all the the gifts they gave me while they were still here.
Growing up, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't know I was loved by them.Even though we lived on the other side of the earth, I looked forward to weekly letters in the mail sealed with a kiss and spent every summer at their home in New Orleans where I spent my days with them; shopping each morning for dinner with my grandma, grandpa teaching me to drive with his ever patient tone, playing tricks on my grandma and hugging her so tight she almost couldn't breath, learning to play golf with my grandpas strong hands around mine, many games of gin rummy, swimming in the Mississippi river, trips to the circus and the museums, singing at church which made them so happy and proud, many family vacations all over the country,delicious family dinners each night together started by a prayer, bedtime snuggles with my Grandma "now I lay me down to sleep", but most of all, I always felt like they wanted nothing more than to be right there with me (and I am sure all my cousins and family felt the same way) asking nothing more of me than what I was. They lifted me up, in a way, only seeing the good in me.
I get sad some days when I think about the fact that my children will never know them. When I imagined myself having children, I had such a clear picture of my Grandma and Grandpa being there to share in each moment. Although I do think (but I am not sure) that they are watching over me in some way and hopefully seeing my kids grow up, it just isn't the same. They were the type of grandparents that would never have missed a thing if they had the chance. They would have loved to hold my little babies, and be there to watch them blow out their first candle, but mostly they would have wanted to be a part of their lives. To hold their hand and give them a million kisses. I know that people have to die, we all will, but somehow I never thought they would. I know it is silly, but I never imagined a life without them. I never wanted to.
Even though Jetta only met my grandmother as a baby and has no memory of it, both my kids seem to know my grandparents and feel their spirits with them. They are connected to them through the stories I tell them. These stories are the stories of my life with my grandparents. They have made me who I am today. They will hopefully become part of my children's lives.
My Grandparents were always there for me. They took interest in my life. They loved me unconditionally. They truly liked being with me and I knew it. They included me in their lives and also thought of my needs and encouraged my interests in so many ways. They spent their time teaching me and loving me and showing me how much they cared. It wasn't always easy either. They traveled long distances, gave up their Saturdays to take me to another tennis or swimming lesson, and even in the end when my Grandmother could not walk or do much for herself, she got on a plane to come and visit me because that was important to her. I was that important to her.
Not only did they love me so much, but they loved so many others the same and most importantly they loved each other. They held each others hand through life and stood strong together through all of life's challenges. They were a team, respecting and loving each other through it all.
They are my true inspirations. For I guess it is my turn to be that person who will hopefully mean so much to someone. They only problem with loving someone so deeply, is it isn't easy to just stop. Even though they are dead, my heart can not stop loving. Maybe that's a good thing. That love that they poured into me will certainly not be wasted. For I can now love just that much and find many people to share that love with.
(Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. post something today or tomorrow about what you are thankful for and put your link in the comments to this post. I look forward to reading them and sharing this wonderful time of year with you. Happy Thanksgiving!)