Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Family Picnic Day

Today was fun, for the most part, lots of laughing with family we haven't seen in a couple of years (again), the required catching up, seeing new additions to cousins' families...and then we went to see Grandma because she wasn't able to be taken to the picnic with her oxygen tank.

We had to leave after about 20 minutes of conversation when we started to cry a bit, went to the washroom to hide it, and then came out to say goodbye.

During the 20 minutes Grandma told us of things that had happened, going for a walk "West" that got her put into a different, more controlled, part of the facility where she lives, because she hadn't let them know she was going for that walk. She filled us in on all the things we knew about, but pretended was fairly new information, and then she started talking about "Angry Brother" and how he had gotten married recently, after more discussion about "The Father"...recapping things from distant past, like when The Mother left him (and for some reason she though had taken "the kids and left"), and of course she used his name, instead of "your dad" which is the usual way she would have referenced him, and then the part that made us cry..."they (referring to our mother and father) had a girl too, I can't remember her name though..." she trailed off...and it became clear she didn't know who we were. As she looked off, trying to remember the name of the daughter, her second grandchild by mere weeks, us, we turned to James, the sadness and pain he felt for us that we could see in his face, and our own sadness, brought tears we could not hide to our eyes.

Excusing ourself we went to the washroom, we didn't want her to see us crying.

When we came out, after freshening our face, we said we had to go.

Hugging her tiny frail shoulders tight, she didn't bring her own arms up to hug us; we whispered "Bye, Grandma, I love you..." knowing it would be the last time, likely, that we would ever see her. Last week they had found her on the floor in her apartment, blue from lack of oxygen. One of our aunts cryptically gave her a week and a half to live. We leave for the UK in just over a month.

We hugged her again, for good measure, and made sure to call her "Grandma" one last time, in hopes that after we left she could put two-and-two together and recall who we are, as she sat in the chair of her small room, facing the window, still trying to figure out which direction she was facing, and get her barrings straight, which was what she was doing when we had arrived 20 minutes earlier.

She said she hoped she would see us again soon, as we hugged her that second time, and we responded with a similar desire. We walked out crying, for many reasons.

And now we are home, cracking a bottle of wine, and contemplating the day, having seen cousins we miss dearly, some of who have formed there own little "mommy" group, of which we will never be a part; and those who are still getting their future together, having left home for a bit, and then came back with a better idea of who they are, and what they want out of life. Being the second oldest of the children of our aunts and uncles, at 32, it is interesting to see those who have surpassed us in "adulthood" (having children, getting married) though much younger, and those who are blazing a trail of a different nature, and enjoying life in a different way.

Once we are done with our stay in Europe, and come back to start our farm, we hope that life will include a little more family than it has the last...well...13-15 years, since we graduated high school and "left home". A bit, anyway.

If you ask James about what it was like to meet our family, large in quantity and in stature, he would probably tell you they are a really good natured bunch, and it was definitely an interesting experience meeting them. All the better he really likes The Father, and has already surpassed more time spent getting to know him than any other man we have dated.

Maybe this feels like a good year for things, all things considered...and maybe even better ones after that.

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