Posts Tagged With: family of origin

searching for grace

One day last week a teacher at school asked me how I knew a particular person. I replied that she’s my aunt. How do you know her?
Her ex husband is besties with my cousin, that aunt’s younger son. And she’s known him since she was a teenager.
The teacher asked quietly if I’d spoken to my aunt or uncle lately.
In all honestly, I hadn’t spoken to them since my dad died in 2014.

(Here’s where a bit of backstory is important…
My dad was adopted when he was five year old.
The family who adopted him also had loads of foster kids.
This aunt is married to one of those foster kids. So even though I’m not blood kin to any of these people, that’s how I was raised. One of the foster kids is my uncle, and his wife my aunt.)

As the teacher and I stood in the hallway at school, she told me that my other cousin and his wife were found in their home, deceased victims of gunshot wounds.

I honestly didn’t know how to feel.

I remember the day he was born.
I was ten.
We were at Grandma’s and my uncle came over to share his joy. His first son had been born early that day. I remember being so excited about a baby cousin! I remember hugging my uncle. I remember joyful tears.

I keep thinking about that baby who became that little boy. Who became that teenager who became that grown man.
How could he be gone?

He’s gone because he found out his wife was seeing another man and he shot her.
Then he shot himself.

I didn’t feel equipped to process this information when I spoke to my uncle. All I could do was tell him I loved him.

I keep coming back to a seeming inability to make sense of it.
I keep thinking I wish my dad was here to talk about it with me.

My heart is hurting.
How much pain exists in one to take a life and then one’s own?
I’m actively working to understand.
I’m expressing love and support to my uncle, aunt and cousin.
I’m not at all judging, I’m simply trying to make sense of it.
I’m searching for grace and hoping my family finds peace in their grief.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

for this is the recipe of love

I found this when I was going through my mother’s things.
20150818_163556
It’s my Grandaddy’s handwriting. I’d recognize it anywhere.
I suspect it’s the toast he made at my parents wedding.
Now, my parents were an ill suited match, but they made me so I’m not going to complain. They were terribly unhappy together, and after my father left us, Mommie remained unhappy deep in her soul. Perhaps that unhappiness came to her when her mother died. I don’t know. I just know that it seemed to me that even though she would express real joy, she was always miserable down in her soul.

Grandaddy didn’t especially like my dad…but that could have been for any number of reasons.
My dad was only likable when he chose to be. Most times he was a right bastard. Of course, a childhood of abuse and a lifetime of hiding his sexual orientation contributed to that.

Grandaddy was a grumpy old thing. But he was helping to raise kids in his sixties and seventies. Oh! How I adored him. He was the first man I ever fell in love with. And quite possibly he was in love with me more than he had ever been with my mom. I think she knew it. I think she was jealous of that love. But, I don’t really care. That love was sacred and nothing will ever change that.

I’m being tangential as all get out…this post started out differently in my head…I’m going to try and make my way back to the reason I’m sharing this photo.

YBW and I have asked my niece, Girlie Thing, to read this at our wedding. Sundance was with me when I found the tiny envelope with Grandaddy’s writing. I knew then I wanted it to be a part of our wedding day.

As I go through the invitation and response lists, I realize my only blood family is Thing 1 and Thing 2. The family I made: Sundance and her babies, my darling friend in Arizona and her family, my friend and mentor, and my former husband’s little sister and her family, will be with me the day I wed the man I waited forty-four years to marry.
I have great sadness that Mommie never even met YBW. That my dad didn’t live long enough to be a part of this day, he adored YBW and our relationship.
My sadness about Grandaddy isn’t so much that he won’t know YBW or be at our wedding, it’s more that everyday missing him that resides deep in my heart.

All this said, I have wonderful people that I love who will celebrate with us on October 24. But with this tiny envelope, a bit of my parents and Grandaddy will be with me too. And that makes my heart happy.

Perhaps that’s the recipe of love…
The family from which you come mixed with the friends who become your family and a dollop of your own babies on top. I’ll mix these with YBW’s family. The one from which he came and his fraternity brothers who became his family and a dollop of his babies.

Whatever the recipe, I am chock-full of love. I’m grateful for those who taught me to love when I was a little girl. For those whom I befriended and taught me how to expand my love. For the man who showed me that love was something I never even imagined. And for the gifts of daughters who taught me new and awe-inspiring ways to love.

Categories: love, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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