Saturday, October 5, 2013

To My Great Mum-Mum Madeline

This morning I'm struck by how missing you are, Mum-mum.

How even though you and I never shared our morning coffee together, even though I never got to see you in your jammies, without your make-up on, or hear you make plans for your day,

that when I opened by eyes, and knew you weren't sharing this life with us anymore,  I had lost something.

...Something beautiful and sacred that could never be replicated or replaced.

And all I can think about today are all of the things I don't know about who you are, and how I ache to be with you so I can find them out.

How does a woman separated from me by an hour drive, by state lines, by 3 generations, and by almost a century make me feel so loved when I'm with her that it hurts to know I won't be with her again?

I've never seen you angry. I didn't know you when you were young, though your spirit never seemed to age. You didn't change my diapers or even my mother's. I don't know any of your best recipes, or even reallly what you're famous for cooking. I don't know if you would even let the girls and Aunt Shelley see you in your jammies or without make-up on.

And yet I love you and I miss you. You aren't here today, and it matters.

I'm wracking my brain to put my finger on what it was about you that got to me. How did you hand down that love without me even really noticing? How is it that your presence on this earth meant so much to so many?

We never even really talked about anything super important together. I remember one time you cornered me and were telling me about the sale at JCPenny's or something, and I was having a terrible time paying attention, but you just kept chatting away, happy to have my ear.

At your 90th birthday party we actually got to talk for quite awhile about when you were young. Somehow you ended up telling me about how you had started working at at bank when you married Pop Allen, and one day you almost fainted while driving into work. Lo and behold you were pregnant! And there I was sitting two weeks pregnant myself, but you couldn't have known.

When you met Sadie for the first time and she couldn't stop staring at you, only two-months old, but she watched you and listened to you in a way I hadn't seen before- taking you all in.

There was a moment at my sister's wedding just last month when everyone was on the dance floor, and I was standing back underneath the tents, watching you watch them. You were sitting there smiling, swaying just a little to the music, tapping your foot to daddy's band, and I remember thinking how just having you there, our Matriarch, made us all feel loved.

The drive home last night had me thinking about how much I love the family that you made, and how I wanted to thank you for them.

You've left behind a seriously stellar legacy Mum-Mum.

If I can be half the mom that you must have been, if I could raise babies who raise babies that are as honest with themselves and others, as loving and open, as easy to talk to and be with and learn from as the people who surrounded you in that room last night, wishing you could stay with us, I would consider my life a huge success.

And how many women can say that they not only knew their great-grandmother, but were changed by her love and their time with her? That their baby daughter was actually blessed by the handful of times she got to talk with her great-great grandmother?

It was so good to be with you while you were here Mum-Mum. Whatever it is that made you so special to so many of us, I hope it rubbed off on me. Thank you for being who you were.

I'll be seeing you.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)