Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Parent"dox: Gone, But Still Here

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #18:  Gone, But Still Here

Today was a special day for our family.

It was a day of love, celebration, sadness, joy, memories and togetherness, all rolled in to one.

The day began with mass.  From my 83-year-old grandpa to my 3-month-old niece, four generations of my family sat together and filled nearly three pews at his church.  After church, we all headed to Bob Evans for breakfast together.  After too many pancakes and way too much bacon, we then ventured to my aunt and uncle's pool to swim and spend the afternoon together, just as we do each year on this day.  The day wound to a close with a cookout, and of course, more eating.  Together.

From start to finish, it was a day of family.  It was a day of laughing and talking and joking and remembering.  It was a day of time spent together.  

It was a day for her.  Of her family being together, just as she would have wanted it.  

It has been a special day for our family each year for 18 years now.

You see, we lost my Grandma Helen 18 years ago this August. 

In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday.  I still remember my mom walking into our kitchen in the early hours of the morning, after arriving home from the hospital, to tell me she was gone.  The way it felt when my breath caught in my chest and my stomach dropped when she told me somehow still seems fresh.  How can it possibly have been 18 years already?

In some ways, it seems like it's been a lifetime.  Our family has grown and grown and grown -- with marriages and births -- by leaps and bounds in that time.  It's hard for me to remember a time when my husband wasn't part of my life, but he didn't even enter the picture until after she had passed away.  He never actually got to meet her in person.  How can it possibly have been only 18 years ago?  

She may have left us 18 years ago, but she is still so very, very much with us.  

She is part of our family; then, now and forever.

She's here in the laughter, the smiles, the tears.

She's here in the quiet moments, in the loud chaos.

She's here in my sister's ability to clip and organize and find every coupon on the face of the earth.  

She's here every time anyone in our family eats at Rainbow Grill or drinks a Pepsi or eats Saltine crackers.  

She's here in the wedding band my grandpa still wears on his left hand to this day.

She's here in the way my aunts make holiday gatherings feel like celebrations and truly special days by gathering us all together.  

She's here in my ability to eat nothing but corn for dinner and be completely happy.

She's here in the way my mom goes to just about every craft show possible, and usually finds something cute for her grandkids every time she's there.

She's here in my three cousins who never met her in person, but know her and love her as Angel Grandma.  

She's here in the way my uncles will attend any sporting event of any member in our family to cheer them on, whether it's varsity basketball or 4-year-old soccer.

She's here in the way my cousins and I laugh and tease each other, often more like siblings than cousins.

She's here in the height (or lack of height...) of my own children.  

She's here in the way family is so important to all of us, and how we all support each other.

She may no longer walk this earth with us, but she is very much still with all of us -- day in, day out -- but especially so on this day.  I know it makes her heart happy as she watches her husband, her children, their spouses, her grandchildren and their spouses, and now her great-grandchildren, together.  I know she can't help but smile as she watches us all laughing, joking, playing, and just being a family together.  

That's exactly how she would have wanted us to celebrate.  Together.

She may be gone, but she is still here.  

Grandma Helen, thanks for all you taught all of us, and how you loved all of us.  You Are a Good Mom.  You are a Great Mom.  Then, now, forever, for always.  We love you and miss you!


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  1. Well, you made me cry with this one, Carrie, thanks. I miss my Grandpa John too, we lost him in 1994 and it feels like just yesterday some winters.

    1. I'm sorry for the loss of your Grandpa John. I'm sure he is still very much "still here" with you, too!


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