I am an addict when it comes to my morning rituals. I get up, let the dogs out, make coffee, go empty my bladder, grab a cup of coffee, let the dogs back in, sit down at my laptop, sip my coffee and go through a various selection of websites that include forums, Facebook and news. One of my first sites I go to is our regional newspaper to check out the obituary's. I heard you start doing that more often the older you get, so I guess I must be old because it's a daily thing for me.
I'm always saddened when I see anyone under the age of 18, especially babies. What a devastating loss to that family. Then, as the holidays approach, I am saddened by all of them. Even those 102 year old great-great grandmas that have had such a wonderful full life being a wife, mom, aunt, sister, grandma, great grandma... to lose anyone so close to the holidays is so heartbreaking. I can't imagine how these people must feel at their dinner table on Thanksgiving or Christmas knowing that in the days after they have to say goodbye to a loved one.
Whats funny about my thinking is that I should be able to imagine it. Sometime around Thanksgiving in 1980 my mom went into the hospital because of a heart attack. Just days before my birthday, which is December 11th, we lost her. Maybe this is why the obits bother me this time of year, I don't know, but I don't remember this time of year that year. I remember Christmases before she died, but I can't remember the one right after. I know we celebrated it because I've been told, but the memory has been wiped from my mind. Protection maybe? Maybe it was a sad and miserable time for my older brothers and sister and my dad, I would assume so, but I don't remember. I was 8 years old that year and I know many people who have crystal clear memories of that time in their life, but I have what I like to call a patchwork memory. Just bits and peices.
My moms parents were both passed many years ago. Her father when she was a toddler I believe and her mother when she was 16. My dad's dad died in the 60s and his mother a year after my mom died. I was telling him yesterday that one thing I miss having, which we never had, was going to a grandparents house for the holidays (grandma was in a nursing home and we did visit her, but we didn't have a "family dinner" or anything). We didn't even go to aunts or uncles... its always just been our immediate family. I envy you readers who have a grandparent to go visit tomorrow - or on Christmas - even if you are visiting in a nursing home or some other similar place. My girls have it and I hope someday they realize how special it really is. My husband even had his grandparents, both sets, up until 2 years ago when he lost both grandpas. I have "adopted" his paternal grandma as the grandma I never had. She is the picture of the perfect little white haired grandma who cooks & cleans and lives for her kids & grandkids. Luckily I get that "grandma" experience through my husband and I remind him quite often how lucky he really is.
So the moral of my rambling - if you are one of those lucky ones to go visit a grandparent during the holidays or even both of your parents... no matter how messed up your family dynamics are, remember how blessed you really are to still have them. Thats what the holidays are about afterall.