Her blood runs though my veins . . .

Grandma

As I walk my journey through the grief of the loss of my son, Jason, I feel like last week I turned a bend in the road and saw something more clearly than I had ever seen it before. I saw my grandmother in a completely different way. My grandmother lost children, not just a child, but children. One of her three living children was born with special needs, there has to be a certain type of grief that goes with this also. For most of her parenting years and beyond she was a single parent.

My grandmother lost several children before they were born. I bear the name of of her oldest surviving child. At three years old she watched this baby pass, her oldest, this one of diphtheria. I cannot imagine how helpless she must have felt. My mom was in her mid 50’s when she was struck by a car and killed. When my grandmother passed this last year at the ripe old age of 98, she had one surviving child, one with special needs.

When my mom passed, I was so busy grieving the loss of my mom and the loss of my children’s grandmother that I did not really grasp that my grandmother lost another child. My dad traveled for his work, so my mom and grandmother were companions/friends not just mother/child. This must have been such a huge hole in my grandmother’s life. But she never really said. I don’t recall her ever crying in front of me.

I don’t remember my grandmother talking much about her losses. There were many, I know she lost at least 2 children, at or before birth. I think there were more. I wonder what she did with all that pain? Did she think of her babies every day? Did she miss the companionship of my mom like I miss that of my son? She lost a husband to divorce when she had 2 young daughters to raise, and then later after her children were grown, she lost the love of her life just a few months after they married.

I find myself almost crushed beneath the weight of these losses. I wonder how I would have done with this much loss. I have been pondering this the last few days; I wish she were still here to talk to. (My grandmother passed 2 months to the day after my son, Jason.) I understand more of what she must have gone through, and the magnitude of her loss leaves me in tears.

In the last few months of her life she spoke of a little girl that came to her room and played with her “knickknacks”, and a woman that walked beside her sometimes. We smiled at her when she talked about these “visits”. I wonder, were these her children? Was the lady my mom, and the little girl the one she lost at three? Did these visits bring her comfort?

As I deal with the loss of my son, I wonder how she did not go a bit crazy. How did she hold it together? Did she cry at night? Did she have any one to talk to? I wish she had kept a diary. I wish I could ask her about these losses. I wish I had thought more about what she might have been going through.

I know with all that I am she rested in the arms of Jesus, she was a prayer warrior. I know she was a strong woman of the plains of Oklahoma, and her blood runs in my veins. I rest the arms of my Savior, I rest in the arms of my husband. I enjoy the company of my daughter, from all these things I draw strength. I am strong because of the heritage she leaves me. I am strong enough to know that sometimes I need to be weak and ask for help. I hope she knew that also.

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6 thoughts on “Her blood runs though my veins . . .”

  1. ok was tough. They all lost children and depending on God, they grew stronger for it. I wrote a similar story to this for Personality development class after I found out I might out live both my daughters. Eva collapsed. Her family had to come take care of the kids. My grandfather never recovered from losing the sister who was closest to him in age. My aunt remembered being so young she really didn’t understand. We have to continue to persevere in Christ in this age for those around us. You have a daughter who will need you for years to come and then grandchildren. Jason’s goodness that Christ blessed him with will never leave you. It shines in your heart.
    We have it good with modern medicine. We have higher expectations than they did in Cherokee Strip in 1900. We have higher dreams through the lenses of the internet. We expect more and cherish less. To them, back then, that was just life. Today, we don’t appreciate life until it’s gone from us.

    I love you Bev. Hang in there! Hugs.

    1. We do have it good now with modern medicine, and death was more common back then, but I don’t think it was any less of a loss. A loss of a child, no matter how expected or common, is a loss. There is the loss of what never was, or will be, along with the loss of the person. I believe back in those days, they did not have the luxury of the leisure time that we have to mourn our losses. There were chores to be done, work to be done. I believe they were not as free to process the loss “out loud” as we are now, so they gulped it down and kept going. We are much more fortunate in the time period we live in.

      Thanks for your thoughts, and for sharing them with me.
      Love,
      Bev

  2. Bev, I enjoyed reading your thoughts and feelings here. When I think of Grandma and ALL that she lost over the years…her parents; her 2 sisters and even her step-brother Earl; her 2 daughters; her 2 husbands (one by divorce)…wow!! How did she not go into a deep deep depression? But I am confident in this…Grandma was one of the most godly women I knew! For most of her Adult life (at least from when I knew her) she was so committed to her relationship with her Heavenly Father that she left me with an everlasting impression and example of how to live with “eternity in view”!! She loved her Savior and I am confident she was able to lean on Him for the comfort and peace she needed each time she lost a loved one! She left an incredible legacy for us! She was an amazing Woman!! Very proud to be called her grandson!!

    Thanks again for you thoughts here…I pray and think of you often when I go through times of thinking and missing Jason! Grandma always said, “losing a loved one is never easy, but losing a child is by far the hardest to endure!” Stay strong Sis…lean on Him! I love you!!

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