I wrote an earlier post called Still Listening. In the post, I wrote about the legacy of common sense knowledge my mother left for me. While writing about her legacy, which inevitably included heartache, I mentioned the death of her only child. Since I’m not deceased, I realized that someone reading the post would probably think I’m crazy, or maybe I was trying to include a riddle to the story. Rest assured, I not crazy and I’m not clever enough to embed a riddle. The answer to the confusion is that my mother is actually my maternal grandmother. I was adopted to my grandparents when I was three years old. My maternal grandmother had one biological child who was my biological mother.
You may wonder why my biological parents would let me be adopted by my grandparents. I’ll leave that wonder to you. I never felt the need to drill down for that information. Several reasons why – 1) I had a great life with my parents (grandparents) 2) I interacted with my biological parents often 3) I grew up close to my siblings and 4) I had the best of both worlds – an only child with siblings.
Sadly, my biological mom was diagnose with cancer at a very young age. After the diagnosis, she was told that she would possibly have a year to live. At the time, she had six children. Three boys and three girls ranging in age from eighteen years old to six years old. My biological dad – who deserves his on story – was not “the person” to raise four young kids. l say four because, one of my brothers was also adopted to another set of grandparents at a young age. My biological mother died at 40 years old. Leaving my two sisters to be reared by our paternal grandparents and my two brothers to enter adulthood a little faster than most.
Its been 48 year since your death, and I still wonder what you were thinking over the course of your final year of life. I don’t remember you ever expressing a lot of emotion. For some reason I remember you sad. My last memory of you is the day my sisters and I got dress up and stood in front of the hospital so you could wave to us from your window. What was going through your head as you watched us? Think about it – you have six kids and you have no way of knowing what will happen to them, how to protect them, how to share in their good and bad times. You will never know what became of their lives. Is that a harder reality to bear than death? You’ll only get to witness one immature generation of your legacy. You will never meet your grandchildren or great grandchildren. You will never know exactly what became of your children or if your short time with them provided any valuable examples or reflections that could benefit them in the future.
Since I’m a person of faith, I believe that you have been able to watch us grow spiritually, physically and mentally. I believe that you know hat sometimes we live too much in the past, because living in the past allows us to keep all our loved ones fluid in our lives. We live with great memories that we don’t want to ever forget. I think you are proud to see that we pursued our dreams and in spite of the numerous tragedies we have endured and that we are a strong, smart and resourceful team. I’m sure you has cheered us on with each accomplishment – two of us finishing graduate school, one became a professional basketball player and adored by our community, and two veterans who have traveled the world. I know you cried when your first born was murdered for being on the wrong side of town, but I’m sure you two are united in heaven. You have five beautiful grandchildren and one adorable great grandchild Your first grandchild died at three years old, but of course you have been with her and watched her grow
So, I just want you to know that even today – almost 48 years later – we are fine. We have lost another sibling, but he was your favorite so I know you are overjoyed having him back with you. Our grandparents were wonderful and gave us a full and plentiful life. God allowed them to live to watch all of us become adults. We are survivors, a skill we learned at an early age. One that has sustained us through all of the years of your absence.
Love you forever, your daughter/sister.