A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sometimes there are tears

Ed and I went to dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant where they were playing old Dean Martin songs. One of them brought back a flood of memories of my childhood and suddenly I missed my family so much. My grandparents, my mom and dad, my aunt and uncle. Mom and Aunt Mary were sisters and my dad and Uncle Joey had know them since they were all kids. They grew up together, got married two years apart, and my cousin and I were born 2 months apart (first wave of Baby Boomers).

Most of my childhood is filled with memories of the four of them being together. They knew each others families and grew up in the same neighborhood. Their histories melded together. And their history is my history.

I remember so many wonderful family events, especially after we all moved back to Tucson where my grandparents had moved. Holidays meant family. Lots of food, love and laughter. My mom and aunt were very close and my mother often would tell me how she didn't know what she'd do if Aunty Mary died. My aunt was the least healthy of the group - and yet she was the last one to go.

So many times my cousin and I would look at our family enjoying each other and wonder which of the four would pass away first. We dreaded the whole idea of any of them not being in our lives. My mom, who was the healthiest of the group, died in 1994. My aunt never really got over it and when her husband, Uncle Joey, died 4 years later, we thought she would not be around much longer. But she hung on for 12 more years. My dad died in 2007 and Aunt Mary was the last one - she just passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 88. A good friend of mine, when I told her my aunt has died, said, "Isn't it funny how they died in reverse order of what we all thought would happen."

Today I started thinking about my childhood and trying to remember something, and I suddenly had a very cold feeling inside realizing that there was no one left to ask! They're all gone.

Gone are the huge family dinners with more food than any human can eat. Gone is my grandfather's silly dancing trying to make us kids laugh. Gone is my mom and aunt talking and laughing. Gone is my dad and my uncle constantly teasing each other and pretending to be fighting. Gone are all the stories of the "old neighborhood" which we kids were bored with and which I would give anything to hear again. Gone are the family events at the drive-in theater, the park, Old Tucson, Sabino Canyon. Gone is the whole family sitting around my grandmother's table playing poker for pennies.

When that song came on tonight, it all came back. I'm not sure why, but maybe it's because I was talking with my cousin this afternoon about his mom's memorial and we were telling stories we remembered from our childhood. My family was always my strength and I never felt more loved or secure than when we were all together. How I miss that.

Today our holidays are still filled with food, love and laughter. Ed and I have wonderful kids and grandkids. I hope we're helping them build special memories that they will carry with them forever and pass on to their kids.

And, I guess, if someday they shed a tear or two missing us and our family times together, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.


the thrifty ba said...

again-it sounds like my family! thanks for sharing

namaste said...

it's wonderful that you have these memories and traditions to pass on. you are now the glue holding every one together by continuing in your family traditions. your children and grandkiddies are fortunate to have you to tell the stories. and your stories have inspired ideas for me on how i can continue my own family traditions. i am blessed to be connected to you guys in this tiny, yet big way through blogging. thanks for sharing your life with us, sandi!

Mellodee said...

I know precisely how you feel! An entire generation....gone! It so sad. Actually I can't think about it too much or I can't function from the awareness that one day our kids wil be missing us....
and on and on.

cookie said...

Sandi,I have loved Dean Martin since I can remember. Then my auntie Lu started with his old tv shows and now I have a collection of him. There is something about him and how he sang that takes me to one place and that is
where you go also. It swells my heart and tears can come very easy. That is a fun way to reach out to all of family members that are gone and all the wonderful times past.