October 16, 2012

If's and What Might Have Been's....

Last weekend I took a road trip with JJ. His new passion is....get this.....Arm Wrestling. Nope, I'm not kidding. It's his thing now. I'm good with this though. First, it's not harmful, unless someone breaks his arm, which means I'll go to prison because I'll HAVE to kill them in return, but I digress....It's not harmful lol. It's encouraged him and Zach to be more health conscious and work out quite a bit as well. it's also not an expensive sport. Well, not normally anyway. JJ did spend a pretty good deal of money on our weekend, but it was fun. It was the first time I got to go watch him compete so I learned quite a bit. Other than spending some road time with my son, which I enjoyed but he probably wished he had some duct tape, I also got to see my youngest sister and my Gramma. That's where the title comes in.
JJ's First match of the night. He won and ended up 4th in the Amateur Division and 3rd In the Pro. Awesome!
I already had problems with the fact that I hadn't seen my youngest sister or my Gramma in 15 years. Which also means I hadn't met my nieces. Both problems I had really been wanting to correct but hadn't had a chance to. So, when JJ mentioned he was going to Oklahoma, very near to where they all live,  for this tournament, I quickly decided to tag along. Of course I also planned to try and see my Dad too, but I thought we had less time and wasn't sure I'd be able to manage that one. I was trying though! Then there's all the cousin's in the area I would have loved to have seen as well, but I'm fairly certain JJ would have come pretty close to strangling me had I suggested any more driving than we were already doing.

So anyway, I got to spend a few hours first with my wonderful Ro-Ro. She'll be horrified that I have secretly called her that for years lol, but it's okay. It's said with love. I also got to spend some time with Mister Fred, her husband who it turns out is actually a really nice and very intelligent guy. Not that I thought he wasn't, I just didn't know him. So it was a nice thing to learn. My nieces were supposed to be there but one of them had a sporting event to go to and so they weren't able to come. That made me sad but it's okay, we'll make it happen eventually.

My sister and I got to spend several hours together and I'm really grateful for that. Her "not-boyfriend" came along as well and he seems like a pretty nice guy so I was happy she is "not dating" someone nice, hehe. (she's gonna kill me for that one).I know it's confusing but her and her Mom know what I'm talking about. You kinda had to be there.... Here's the only pic I thought to get lol. I was just enjoying being around her. We're alot alike. Both Smartass and kinda bitchy lol, but we had fun.
Me and my Baby Sister!

It doesn't look like much now, but this little house held more love than you can imagine.

Anyway, the next morning, we drove to see my Gramma and that's kind of where everything went to hell in handbasket. You see........I dearly, truly love my Gramma. If there's any point in time where I actually knew without a doubt that I was loved, it was when I was at Gramma and Papa Joes. They just provided a warm, loving, supportive and kind environment for myself and my sisters when we were there. There was no screaming and yelling. No drama. No cussing. No drunken, house destroying binges. Just absolute love and safety.

Then we were taken away and that was the end of that. Til I was old enough to find them again. By that time, my Papa Joe had passed away and I met my Grandpa Bill. Part of me wishes that Papa Joe had lived to see me again. But I know that had that been the case, I would have missed out on Grandpa Bill. I think Papa Joe sent Grandpa Bill somehow to take care of Gramma so she'd not be lonely. He was that good a man and he knew Grandpa Bill was too and that she'd be in good hands. I could be wrong of course, but I like to think that Papa Joe never really left til he knew Gramma was okay. Not if he could help it anyway. Grandpa Bill has since passed away as well but I believe that he and Papa Joe still watch over her. Probably side by side.

Well, I was super excited to see my Gramma as you might imagine. I was also scared though. I had talked to her on the phone a few times and I can admit now that it was clear that there was a problem, but I convinced myself it was because we were on the phone talking. I talked myself into believing that face to face, Gramma would be the same Gramma she'd always been. Calling me "babydoll", reminding me that I needed scotch tape in order to have bows on my head because I was bald as a baby, wanting to cook any number of my favorite foods like homemade waffles and homemade egg noodles.....things she'd always done when I was a kid and later during visits. I wouldn't have LET her cook for me now, mind you, she's got problems seeing anything but shadows, but I just desperately hang on to the belief that she wasn't different. She was Gramma!

I was wrong. Very wrong. When we first got there, she knew me and JJ, but after about 5 minutes, she had no idea. She knew we were related to her somehow, but that's about it. I did everything I could not to cry. I swear I tried to hang on to some semblance to calmness the 45 minutes i got to spend with her but I finally couldn't take it anymore. In fairness, we really did have a very long drive and JJ had a plane to catch the next morning, but I pretty much ran away. I didn't want her to know I was upset. It wouldn't have done her any good to feel like she'd hurt my feelings and I would never let her know she'd upset me anyway. It's not her fault. She's 92, still living in her own little apartment and getting around.....she just can't remember things.

When we left, I hugged her tight and told her I loved her and I completely lost it as she shut the door. On the drive home, I cried off and on. I had to face that Gramma wasn't exactly Gramma as I remembered her. Same person, same love, just not the same steel trap mind that would sit and tell me all the stories about when I was a baby and how much she loved me.

Which made me realize what an Idiot I was. I spent 15 years "trying" to go see her. It's an 8 hour drive. I've been to see 3 concerts that cost as much as it would have to go spend quality time with someone who dearly loved me and who I loved just as much. I've bought $100 coffeepots that could have paid for half the trip. I've bought books that were good, but totaled could have been spent to go see Gramma at least 3 times. So how hard was I really trying? it's not that I didn't WANT to. I truly did. I guess I just let myself believe that she'd always be there and she IS, at least Physically, but not her memory.

It's a hard lesson. One that I have definitely learned, but cannot fix. Phillip said something really smart the other day. "At least she's alive and you can talk to her........it doesn't matter what you talk about". He's right! I haven't completely lost her and I have to deal with the fact that getting older isn't pretty. It could be worse. She could be gone to be with God, beyond my reach, just like my other Grandparents.

So, I've decided to make it a real effort to do better. I will call her EVERY Sunday or any other day, not just "when I have time". I am also making a concerted effort to call my Dad more. I'm tracing our family tree to see what I can learn about where I came from. I'm going to MAKE SURE i meet my nieces THIS year! I'm going to make sure I spend more time with my sisters. I love them and their kids very much and there is no reason I don't see them more often other than I haven't been trying hard enough. The people who matter to me, who are truly my family are the people I need to be certain know that *I* love them! There are others, I have walked away from and that won't change. I don't hate them anymore, I just know that several of them are the very essence of evil and God did not intend me to surround myself with hatefulness and deceit. Unfortunately the few good ones, like my step-Dad and 3 others, are not accessible except through evil, so it is what it is. I don't dwell on it, because It does no good. What I am going to dwell on is making sure that *I* never take for granted anyone I love anymore. Period. I think Gramma will be proud of me, even if I had to learn it at her expense. I didn't mean to, that's for certain, but learn it I did just the same.

So if there are people in your life you are "trying" to see the way that I did........do better! Make it happen before it's too late. You and your loved one will be glad you did.

(Ignore typo's........I was crying as i typed and if I read back over it, I will do so again. Imperfect or not, it's heartfelt and that's what matters.)


No comments: