It seems like the life of a different person. I had this grandmother. A little rough around the edges, but when she laughed--oh, you felt like her laughter was the only sound. She took care of us all the time. Whenever our parents needed to go somewhere, she was there. And an overnight visit meant candy and a new box of crayons. What more could a little girl want???
And then my parents got divorced. The 12 year old girl was faced with a whole world of complications and unknown experiences. Not knowing what to do, she followed her parents.
On the maternal side, it was a world of secrets. "Don't tell them Daddy left. He's just working a different shift." When it became clear that Daddy wasn't coming back, the information was released through a beloved aunt. Nothing was really said, but the overwhelming sense of love and support was felt--even by an then akward 12 year old.
But the paternal side was much different. Without any warning, that part of life seemed to no longer exist. My father would show up on his designated weekends, but contact with his family tapered off until there was nothing. I followed the example of a man that I now know chooses to live in a world of denial than one of relationships.
But I didn't know that when I was 12.
Through the wonders of social media, I snooped and found out that the wonderful woman I called grandmother is in a hospital bed. She has been given only days to live. I haven't seen her in years, and yet I feel my heart breaking. I don't know who she is now, but I have the memories of the woman she was--strong, fearless, loving, kind, spirited. It hurts to know that I turned my back on that. It also hurts that my father, who I followed blindly as a kid, hasn't even called to let me know about the situation. Even with his tremendous powers of denial, surely he has accepted what is happening.
Ultimately, there is no one to blame but myself. I have had the power for years to try to mend what was broken, but I didn't. I don't even know why. I just didn't.
But, if there is even the slightest possibility, I want the world to know: Grandma, I love you! I may have drifted away, but a part of you has always lived within me. I am not the granddaughter you deserved. For that I will always be sorry. But my love for you will always be there.