Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflections on Life

Pictured is my Grandma. She passed away last Tuesday. She was 89.

Grandma was ill for a long time. Throughout my memories I could always remember that there were certain health issues that plagued her and would show up periodically. She also had osteoporosis, that was very advanced making her very fragile and it hampered her getting around some.

To be quite frank these last 15 or so years we were not very close. Large gaps of time would pass and we would not have any contact at all. She had other parts of her life to focus on and so did I. And really that is the way the adult world works after all.

I have some very fond memories of Grandma. Spending time with her, baking apple pies, crocheting and embroidering, and getting candy bars from her secret stash in her closet. Mars bars...but that is a different story for another day.

We had known the end is near for quite a few days and that was the beginning of the tidal wave of emotion that is released when someone in the family passes.

Since I could characterize my relationship with Grandma as love/dislike, I started trudging through all the memories, did my share of finger pointing, picking out the things and situations that I didn't reap from and explaining why I didn't go out of my way for her. Mind you, my family is fairly good sized, so it was not that I was the only grandchild. So I was singling myself out amongst the others that I am sure were doing the very same thing as me.

What made me feel better in going into the wake and the funeral was holding on to those memories, my special ones knowing that no other person in the family had those exact memories and that made them special because they were mine.

Throughout the services Sunday and Monday, I listened to others speak of Grandma. Some of it was things I knew and some of it was things I never heard. Some of it was so outrageous that I was stunned that we were all referring to the same person!

How could she be so different with so many different people? At some point when I got older, did she just decide to be a different person?

I have realized that she was all those things, to all of us. And no matter how well you think you know a person, they are different things to different people.

Then it flashed in my mind, why wasn't she those things to me? Why did I miss out?

I think the best answer is that we are not everything to everyone. Does that make sense? She was the teaching me to make apple pie Grandma to me and she was the make sure that you did your homework after school Grandma to another. And that is okay. I can see that now.

Part of our life is learning lessons. One way is to actually experience situations and the other is by observation. To be honest. I am beginning to believe that the observation part is way more important than the experiencing. Well it has to come first at least.

If I look at my Grandma's life just as an observer, I can objectively pick out the things in her life that I would never want to experience and the things that I look forward to, like the joy of being a grandparent someday.

And while actions in her life would be considered wrong whether it be fact or opinion, I am able to view those and put them somewhere in the back of my mind, for future reference. Later I can call upon them for comparison on situations in my life. Learning lessons.

So Thank you Grandma for the lessons you have taught me even if you didn't mean to.

And Thank you to all of God's creatures for the lessons you have taught me even when you didn't me to.

Also, remember, we are all being taught the lessons, we are teaching each other, every minute of every day. I guess the trick is to take them in and heed them when necessary.

Rest in peace Grandma.

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