Monday, January 19, 2009

Those We Didn't Know

We got a phone call this morning. Buzz's maternal grandmother is dying. She's 99 and has had Alzheimer's for many years, so in a way this is a blessing. She will finally get to rest and enjoy a perfect body and mind again. But, it's difficult to say goodbye. We'll be making a trip back home to rural Alabama soon.

I'm sad that I never really knew Buzz's grandmother, Gann. By the time I joined the family, she already had full-blown Alzheimer's. So, she never really knew me either. But, she taught school in the area for nearly four decades. One of her students was my father, so I like to that the she passed on something, even some tiny character lesson, that he in turn passed on to me. Legacy.

My great-grandmother, Mama, died in 1999, the same year I met Buzz. She died with full mental clarity at the age of 83. I miss her dearly. She was a very special person to my family, having raised my mother. Rarely a week went by that we didn't drive the few miles to her house to see her and spend time with her. This month is the ten-year anniversary of her death. But, still, sometimes things will happen or I'll see a news story, and I'll think, "I need to tell Mama about that." But, then, I remember.

I wish that Buzz could have known her. She would have loved him, and his extroverted ways, his kindness and generosity. All things I love about him, too. She would have been so proud that I married such a wonderful man. Buzz and I named our daughter Flower after Mama. I think of how tickled she would have been and how she would have laughed and said, "Oh, sister, couldn't find a better name than that?" And, we would have laughed together. One day, I will tell Flower all about her namesake, and I hope we'll laugh together about some of the stories I have to share about Mama. Legacy.

I'm happy that Spark and Flower have wonderful grandparents who love them. But, I am sad that they never knew these remarkable women, Gann and Mama, and I want to somehow pass on even more of their legacy, something that years from now, when the kids are old enough to understand, will make the stories of these women come alive for them.

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