My sisters tell me from time to time that they don't really remember much about grandma Leora, because they didn't have the experiences with her that I had. It always makes me sad to know that they didn't really know her like I did, and they were unable to spend as much time with her, growing up with her, learning from her, and having her help shape who they were as individuals. Yes, they had some time, but I really had the most.
This weekend, I received a manila envelop filled with old pictures, from my dad's sister, my aunt Jan. In it were various shots of my dad growing up, mostly as a baby or toddler, but there were also other family photos, including those of my dad's parents, grandpa Edwin and grandma Edna.
My dad's parents died when I was younger. I remember bits and pieces about my grandpa, like how he'd always have candy on him, because he was diabetic, and we'd get a piece. I feel very disheartened at times, knowing I don't remember much more than that. Sometimes, I wonder if that's even a memory, or something I made up in my mind from what others have said. He died in 1988.
When it comes to my grandma Edna, though, I can more than relate to my sisters. She died when I was just over 2, in 1986, just days before my first brother was born. Sadly, I remember nothing of my time with her. I know that she had time with me, but to me, there really was none.
I sit and wonder, as I look at the pictures of this tall, beautiful woman who helped give me life... Am I anything like her? Would she be proud of me? How did she shape who I am as an individual?
I know her through stories, but I haven't really heard that many of them. The one I remember most vividly is how she waited to pass on until my dad could be there, so he could say good-bye. What I have been told beyond that, I'm ashamed to say, I do not remember much of.
While I'm blessed to know that I'm much like my grandma Leora in many ways, I feel sad to know that I am unable to see the ways in which I may be like my grandma Edna. I know there are others out there who probably feel the same way about their family members influencing them, so I know I'm not alone. I also realize there are other who never met their grandparents, or even their parents, and I hope that there is someone out there who can help them discover them as well.