My grandmother passed away a year ago. Right around this time last year to be exact. For those of you who have been here for a while, you know I was really heartbroken when she passed, mostly because we hadn’t spoken in almost 10 years.
This post is so late today because I actually decided to revamp it after a conversation I had with my wife this morning. My wife is currently going through some pretty heavy family issues at the moment. In the car after dropping off both our kids at their respective places of care, we were discussing those issues, as well as many other things in our lives right now.
She asked, “do you struggle with still loving your grandmother?” She explained what she meant by that was, when I look back on my childhood as an adult, and now see things for what they really are, and having spent so much time sifting through all the lies my mother filled my head with, do I feel like my relationship with my grandmother was real, and do I harbor any blame towards her for not standing up for me.
Quite simple, the answer is, “No.”
I love my grandmother just as much today as I did before everything fell apart in my life over 12 years ago. I don’t blame her for anything. Sure, I’m disappointed, but I also understand she had little to no fight left in her, and my mom is an all consuming force.
But enough about that…I want to tell you why my grandmother inspires me.
My grandmother raised me for most my childhood. My mother worked long hours (when she had a job), and when I was young, my grandmother would watch me, feed me, and generally make sure I was being looked after. But one memory about my grandmother stands out above the rest, and it comes back to the conversation the Wife and I were having this morning.
I have this old blanket that I’ve had forever. It’s one of those blankets you see at the swap meet, that people are usually selling out of their vans. They are typically brown on one side, and white on the other, and they always have some sort of animal on them. Mine has an eagle flying down. It’s not the greatest blanket in the world, and doesn’t keep you all that warm, but I love it. The Wife: she hates it. She’s been after me for years to get rid of it, and makes fun of me every time I curl up with it. It’s literally the last thing I own from my life before we moved in together; the life I lived, lonely and depressed; a life encapsulated with my mother.
We are currently in the midst throwing a way/selling a lot of old items in our house right now, so naturally the topic of the blanket came up. The Wife asked, “Why do you care about that damn blanket so much?” So I explained:
It reminds me of my grandmother. She had one just like it, except hers had a tiger on it. When I was a kid, there were a lot of mornings my mom had to leave for work really early, so she would drop me off at my grandparent’s apartment so I could continue to sleep before school. No matter what time we arrived, my grandmother would already have a bed perfectly made up on the couch for me; sheets and everything. And it was always topped of with her warm tiger blanket. I would curl up and fall asleep instantly under it. Whenever I was over there during late nights my mom worked late, my grandmother and I would cuddle up and eat popcorn while we watched our shows.
When I made my ill-fated decision to buy my condo, my grandmother bought me the eagle blanket as a gift. Something to have in my new home. Something to remember our good times, and continue the tradition.
I ended up losing that condo, sold or gotten rid of every piece of furniture or belonging from that past life, and even lost my grandmother…but I still have the blanket, and I don’t plan on getting rid of it any time soon.
So, how does a blanket tie in with my grandmother being someone who inspires me? Well, that blanket is more than just a blanket to me. The blanket that my grandmother and I shared was (to me) her way of wrapping me up in her love, always. She knew how much it meant to me, and I knew how much I meant to her. And that’s why she bought me my own when I was an adult in her eyes…she wanted me to go out and wrap someone in my love, like she did for me.
My grandmother inspires me because she was a woman who lived through a lot of tragedy and pain, especially dealing with my mother and grandfather, but she still took time to wrap her grandson in her love for as long as she could. She wanted me to know that, yes, life was rough, and unfair, but there is always room for love.
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