Three traits I got from you.
Today is your second Heaven-versary. You left us two years ago and are finally relieved of your earthly pain. I was looking at the calendar, fully aware of the looming anniversary, to see which date it was. I was so ashamed that I didn’t know the exact date. I just knew your funeral was on Dad’s birthday so at least I knew that.
One of my dearest friends recently lost her mother to cancer. She’s been on my heart and as I realized March 28th was on it’s way, I thought of my own mom and her loss of her mother. I thought about how I’ll feel when my own mom goes to Heaven and you are reunited. To be honest, I am not sure how I’ll cope. I know I’ll have to, I just hope it’s further away rather than closer. It made me realize how unsupportive I must’ve been to mom as she lost you. I was so wrapped up in my girls and helping mom get things where they needed to go I don’t know that I supported her emotionally. I did what I always do when someone dies: I get working on making others as comfortable as possible. As I type this I’m reminded of doing the exact same things when Andrew died.
As I sit here thinking about my life and how it compares to yours, I’m struck by the simplicity of your life (as little I truly know it) and the complexity of my own (as I feel it). The thing is, until I was in my 20’s, I didn’t know how complex your life really was. I didn’t know much about your struggle with depression and the resulting despair when no consistent cure could be found.
Sometimes mom doesn’t think she’s been a great mom to me, but you must be so proud of her. I know you were proud of her. There are so many similarities between the three of us. Here are three traits that I am going to give you credit for. Without your example, I really don’t think Mom would have passed them on to me. May my daughters be as lucky.
We are fighters.
The other day I said how tired I was of being the one who had to figure everything out. I was tired of fighting. Yes, I was being dramatic but, I thought of you.
My favorite story about you is how you quit your job as a seating hostess at the movie theater because Grandpa asked you out on a date and you couldn’t get the night off so you quit. I love imagining how you saw that cute Harold Lentz, he asked you out, and you knew he was being deployed so you had to take this opportunity. I wish I’d asked you if you’d had a crush on him. You fought for your happiness.
You also fought for your happiness through the constant fight against severe depression. Mom says you struggled when she and her four siblings were young but there was nothing you could take for it. How you must’ve felt like the sky was opening up, when medicine became available, only to feel swallowed again when it was ineffective. My heart still hurts for you in that pain. I know that pain, but not as severely as you did. I’m glad you are done with that fight.
We love our families.
There is very little that will come in the way of our love for our families. Even though you struggled with depression, and lived far away though half of my childhood, I still remember a grandma who loved her family. The smile and twinkle in your eyes when you’d see me was enough for me. The joy on your face when you held your great-granddaughters…I’d never seen that look of adoration with a touch of awe before. I tried to get you and my daughters together as much as possible for that reason.
Do you know that I would sing your favorite two songs to the girls when they were babies? “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Edelweiss” were daily lullabies. I can’t sing to save my life but “Edelweiss” is still one of Georgia’s favorite nighttime songs. I think of you every time we sing it.
We have faith.
When Grandma Britton passed away, I asked for her Bible. When you left us, I asked mom if Grandpa would mind if I had your Bible as well. While I didn’t follow in your Lutheran footsteps, I did follow in your Christian faith footsteps. I know that brought you so much happiness, knowing that my belief system remained through the loss of my brother and as I grew up. At least I went to a Lutheran high school. 😉 You knew the denomination didn’t matter as much as my belief and acceptance that Jesus died for my sins.
As I flipped through your Bible, I learned something new about you…many somethings really. Your handwriting took me to that time in your life and made me wonder why you noted what you did. You made very personal notes in your Bible that surprised me but also comforted me to know you struggled with the same things I do. It also let me see how similar we are in our faith and gave me an inside peek into how important that faith was to you. Also, even with your struggle with depression, you never gave up and I know that you felt like it a few times. Thank you for not giving up that fight.
I love you, Grandma. Say hi to Andrew and Grandma Britton for me. I’m glad you two can keep Andrew in check. I’m sure he’s tried to experiment on a few things up there.