Wow, it has been a loooong time since I wrote last. It took the death of my beloved Grandma to bring me back to the writing table. Grandma (my mom's mother, Dorothy McCleskey) passed away on Tuesday night and I spent the next day or two feeling unsettled, angry and sad. Then I cried my eyes out at my weekly prayer group and felt better.
Dorothy McCleskey somehwere around 2007
Yesterday I went to her memorial service, which was held at her home in Hoodsport. It is a long drive to Hoodsport. Usually around 2 hours and 20 minutes. It is often not a drive I appreciate, as it is a long time for the kids to "be nice" in the car. This time, I felt almost happy going...grateful for the chance to go be in Grandma's house again.
I was surpised when I got there how much I just walked around and tried to memorize the feel of her house. Every wall, every picture, every gilded knick-knack. Every lighthouse, every clock, every angel, every silk plant. Around and around I went, walking the hallways that I've walked for 25 years. My grandma didn't travel much, she liked to be at her house. Most of my memories of my Grandma are right there inside that house.
I realized last night that I felt connected to my extended family through that house. Not only are my pictures all over the walls, but my parents' pictures and my cousins' pictures and my aunts' pictures and my uncles' pictures and all our kids' pictures are in every nook and crany. When my relatives came to town, they always stayed with Grandma and we met them there, we ate there, we played there, we commisserated there...everything inside that house.
No items that I might take home from that house can give me what that house holds. That house holds my life with my Grandma with all it's tree branches that connect us. That house means family. Now Grandma is gone, waiting for me in heaven, and that house will soon be gone and we need to find new rituals and new routines to connect us. Losing her house is like facing a 2nd family death, yet the house couldn't live on without her.
So I find myself as reluctant to end this blog post as I was to leave Grandma's house last night. Afraid that once I move on, it will be gone forever. But move on we must, for life for me and my family moves ever onward. Goodbye Grandma and goodbye Grandma's house...thanks for the legacy of love that's left behind.