My mother in law died 6 years ago when my children were only 7 and 3. My son has limited memories of his grandmother and my daughters have no memory of her at all.
This used to make me feel so unbelievably sad. Not only because I know what it was like to grow up with 2 grandmas and experience their love and hugs and unlimited supply of cookies, but because Gram was a person you wanted to know.
When my girlfriends complained about their mother in laws, I was never able to join in. My only complaint about my mother in law was that I wish I knew her better. Now I wish I had the opportunity to have known her longer. Because like I said, she was a person to know.
She loved us all, grown children and grandchildren both. She doted on her grandchildren and always had special gifts for them, simply wrapped in brown paper and raffia. But she never neglected showing her love to her grown children-the in-laws included. Every Easter she would make up a scavenger hunt for the grandkids to find their Easter baskets. They would tear through the house and the yard from clue to clue, racing to find their treats! But, she never forgot the grown-ups. She made each of us our own carefully decorated basket filled with gourmet coffee, chocolate, and wine. As a mom of 4 young children, I spent most of my days and nights tending to others, so to have someone go out of their way to do something special for me, big or small, was absolutely restorative. As I said, she was a person to know.
So I’m sad for my kids, that they don’t have these memories of their grandmother, of her sweet light hugs, her sweet light voice, her behind the scenes work to show those around her how much she loved them.
What gives me solace is knowing how much Gram enjoyed her grandbabies. They don’t remember her, but she enjoyed the heck out of them while she was here. Spending Saturday mornings on the floor in my living room, drinking her coffee while 3 babies and a toddler climbed all over her like a pile of puppies. Holding their sweet chubby bodies and delighting in their little quirks and personality traits, wondering what they might be like as adults joyfully, even though she knew she’d never live to see it. A woman who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, while triplet babies grew in my womb. A woman who read the statistics about this terrible cancer and thought she might not live to see those triplets born. A woman who defied all odds and lived well for 4 years. A woman who truly enjoyed her life and the lives of those around her despite her sufferings. A woman who knew what a gift it was to simply sit with her coffee, surrounded by an abundance of grandchildren. A woman who knew how to live in the moment.
My children, someday we will all be reunited and you will know your Gram but until then I need you to understand how much joy you brought to her in her last years. Although you did not know her, she knew you and that is enough for now.