Wednesday, August 30

Who am I without my Granny?

I realize that the question above seems sort of rediculous. I am the same person without my Granny as I am with her- she may have shaped me, but I do not need her to hold my shape for me. Therefore, it is really only important that she lived, not that she now ceased to be alive.

However, I would like to propose to you that it is not a rediculous question.

It ocurred to me, while I was still in Oklahoma, that if my Granny hadn't been who she was, there is no way that I would be who I am. I would not love hummingbirds, or wind chimes. I would not have such a deep and abiding faith. I would not have had a home.

I had thought that I would get the opportunity to introduce my Granny to my children. I had though that I would have a small opportunity to show them what it was like to be her grandaughter. However, that's where it comes down to being rediculous. I am still her grandaughter. So what is it that is causing my identity crisis?

I think it goes back to the final sentence in the third paragraph. I would not have had a home. When I was growing up we moved about every 5 years. It was rough, even if you were ready to leave a place. It was horrible being someplace where you had no friends, knew no one, no one knew you and you got to reinvent yourself every few years. I think, in some ways, it led to an instability in my personality that makes me avoid attachments (looking back at the last post now and trying to figure a way to make that sound advantageous... giving up).

But every Christmas we made the same journey to the same place and were with the same people who knew us and loved us and were interested in who we were becoming. If i wanted to just sit in silence in their presence, there was nothing awkward in that.

So if that is completely gone now, what is the defining stability of my life?

I am married. I have Christmas with my parents, or go to Colorado to see Josh's parents. I have a job and I practice an art. So why do I feel like the defining stability of my life has disappeared? And why didn't I experience this when Papa died?

After a long conversation with my cousin Audrey I can articulate it much better. It's too intangible a loss to articulate by saying that I am grieving the loss of my Granny- because I am, but not as much as I am grieving that I can never have the things that she offered me ever again. The only way to really make those tangible enough to express with any clarity to to try to explain what it was like to be at her house. The laundryroom filled with dessert every christmas. The breakfasts watching birds and eating venison sausage. The library, The creek, the mimosa tree we all climbed, the horses, the jujubees, Papa's chair, the swing that hung on the tree way in the back of the yard, the tractor.

These things still exist (most of them- I know that tree with the swing and Papa's chair were both casualties of the tornado almost two years ago) but they do not belong to me anymore. That is what makes me so sad.

The last time I saw my Papa was at my wedding. When we were taking pictures he reached over behind me and took my hand. He died about 10 months later and I didn't see him again. We cling to the tangible things- the evidence of who loved us and who we are.


Brandee said...

I think you are feeling a different loss because now they are both gone. And that safe and loving place you go to is now empty. What will the holidays be like in a different place and without either of them to hold the whole thing together? Until I married Chance, my whole family unit and tradition was with the Sanders family. My grandma Vi always came there with us. And now that we are all older, there are great grandchildren, and Moms is no longer in her own home, the holidays are much different. Everyone tries their best to get there and it seems we all have mulitple obligations on that day. Pat has taken the role of providing the home, but I always wonder, when Moms is no longer with us, how many of us will gather there? As it is now, it seems I don't get to see many of them before I have to leave for Chance's grandma's house. I fear for the same loss you are feeling. I know I will grieve deeply when Moms' time comes...she is my last living grandparent. She is my tradition and my safe haven. I picture her arms with all of us in them. She is our glue and our guiding angel. Hold on to your memories of your granny and papa and write them all down. Create a journal or scrapbook. Make one of your stories so that you can tell your children how wonderful and important they were to you. You can carry on their love and traditions even without them there physically. Because, as you know, they are always with you in your heart each and every day.

Anonymous said...

Nothing much to say except that I love you very much and Dad's chair now sits in my living room. You are simply a beautiful person Chara and I see little bits of Mom in you, your sisters and all of your cousins. I too grieve differently for Mom than I did for Dad, and I can't really explain it either. However, they will never be gone from us completely, their influence already runs 3 generations......

I guess I had more to say than I thought.

Love you,