Grandparents day makes me sad

Yesterday was grandparents day. That makes me sad.

I had two sets of grandparents for most of my life. Now I just have a grandmother. I grew  up with both of my grandparents living on the same street as me. I saw them every day. My two sets were as different as night and day but they both taught me a lot.

My moms parents hated each other. My sister says they loved to hate each other. This set of grandparents taught me how to shop, how to shave my legs, do my hair and how to "find a husband". They taught me that what is on the outside is important. I remember my grandma telling me once that you should always look your best because you never know who you are going to meet. She and papaw had a rough marriage. She was a high strung woman who worked outside the home and always had. She was a woman that was an enabler for everyone's bad habits. Papaw as much as I loved him was a lousy husband. But he was hilarious. He had a quick whit. He was also a survivor. He had beat cancer several times until it finally took him out. He survived having a trach. It never stopped him from having a good time. My favorite memory of my papaw is he was fussing at me for something. He had already had his trach so he barely speak, but he was sure letting me know in gestures that he did not like whatever it was I had done. I said well you don't have to shout at me. He busted out laughing and all was forgiven. My grandmother is famous for asking about your bowel habits.

My dads parents sett me up for relationship failure. See, Grandma met papaw during  WWII. He had lied about his age and enlisted with his brothers. She went to work in a factory with her cousin (who was raised as her sister) Her cousin, Goldie, met papaws brother Bob and setup a blind double date for my grandparents. It was love at first site. She said she knew that that was going to be the face on her children. He didn't stop thinking of her the whole time he was gone.

Goldie and Bob didn't work out. But, papaw came back to Kentucky after he war instead of going home to Missouri. He never left. They got married and had 8 children. No matter what life through at them, losing a baby soon after birth, moving to different states for work, and dealing with the drama of having 5 boys in a house, and finally a long battle with terminal cancer. They loved each other and were devoted until the end. I never heard either say an unkind word to the other. When he was dying from cancer she stayed with him, holding his hand until the end. She mourned for him until she passed almost a decade later. Their entire worlds were giving each other comfort and support. When she took her last breathe I couldn't be sad because I knew she was with the only man she ever loved. They didn't care about money, or being cool, or what anyone looked like on the outside. They were interested in the inside. They cared about letting those around you know how much you love them. I have been looking my whole life for a love like theirs.

Grandparents day make me sad that my children will never know them, that their own grandparents live an hour away and they have no real meaningful interactions with them.

1 comment

  1. I too just have a grandmother now. It was sad to read this, but also a beautiful tribute.


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