Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Thoughts of the past

I seem to be spending a lot of time rummaging through my memories, mostly of my grandmother. She has been gone about 3 years now, and I regret that I didn't know her better. I mean I knew a lot of things about her, but I never sat down with her and really got to know her. Grandma and I had lost touch really, and that was my fault, when people leave me I tend to shut them out so they can never hurt me again, and that is what I did with my grandma. I shouldn't have, but I did, and nothing can change that now.
My grandma's mother and father came to Wyoming from Sweden, they homesteaded a Ranch on a beautiful piece of property. They had 3 daughters and were establishing a life as Americans, but by the time Grandma was 14 both of them had died, I don't even know how they died. There was an aunt and uncle in the picture and they sold off everything, handed all the girl about a hundred dollars and told them they didn't want to see them anymore. The girls moved to the closest town, got jobs, and did the best they could and grandma soon found herself knocked up, there are rumors that the baby's father paid my grandfather, John, to marry grandma because he was already married, but they are just rumors and I never asked grandma, my guess would be that there was some truth to them, ok a lot of truth. My grandma had the baby, my Aunt Sharon who we lost about a year after grandma. I never met John he died in the sunshine mine in Idaho when I was a tiny baby, and from the sounds of it I really didn't miss much by not knowing him. He was a drunk, a very mean abusive drunk. He beat my grandma up a lot, he seemed to be knocking her up or knocking her around most of the time. They had 6 kids all together, counting Sharon, 3 girls and 3 boys. When my dad got old enough John not only beat Grandma, but thought that it was ok to hit him to, I think mostly because he stood up for his mom and his sister, he thought it was better him getting beat than them even at a very young age. Daddy and the others pretty much had to raise themselves, because Grandma worked all the time to pay the bills and support 6 kids, herself, and when he came home a drunk husband, who took his disfunctions out on her and her kids. One day he just didn't come back, but they never got a divorce, even at the time of his death they were still married. Grandma worked as a cook and a baker at a truck stop, and in all the time she was going through all that abuse, and raising her kids she wasn't a drinker. When I can along we lived in the same town as her, and we lived with her for a little while. When we didn't live with her she was my babysitter, and I can still hear her telling me "You were such a good little girl, I would take my nap and you would sit on the bed and cut paper until I woke up, you would never leave the bed." Grandma had a bad heart, and she would get tired really easily. We were best friends, on the weekends she was the one I would have sleep overs with, sometimes at my house sometimes at hers. Then one day I must of been a 8 my uncle and my daddy were building on to grandma's house and getting it fixed up for her, when low and behold, the same man who we think paid John to marry grandma, shows up with this drunk bum who needs work and wants Daddy and my uncle to hire him to help, and they did. Next thing we know him and grandma have run off together, and my grandmother who was never a drunk became a hardcore alcoholic, living in gutters, begging for money, and who knows what else. In the years she spent with him she had a heart attack and open heart surgery, and we went to see her in the hospital. I thought she was going to die then, and I think she wanted to. When we got there no one could get her out of bed, they told her she had to get up and start walking, but she wouldn't. I took her hand and told her come on grandma lets just go for a walk so you can get better, and for me she got out of that bed and we walked the halls of the hospital in Denver, and I thought she would come home then, but she got out of the hospital and kept right on drinking and living her life like I didn't matter, but for a little while I did matter again, and I held on to that for a long time. Then when the drunk she ran off with finally died, daddy and I went to Nebraska and brought grandma home. We lived 2 hours from her house by then so there was no chance of ever picking up where we left off, by that time I was already a junior in high school, oh I went to visit her a time or two, and she came here a few times, but we had lost that connection we had had when I was a child and she was my best friend in the world. I never stopped loving her, and she got to met my boys before she left this world, and for that I am glad, but I do wish that I had decided to let her back into my life and really taken the time to get to know her. I want to know about her past and her family, and how she felt about it all not just some second hand story but from her heart, and why she ran off with Walt and why she started drinking, and mostly I want that chance to tell her I never stopped loving her, and I know in my heart she knew that. I am not a religious person, and I don't believe in ghosts, but she was at her own funeral and she spoke to me, my cousin and her family and me and mine were standing there and all of our kids were playing at our feet getting a little loud and the preacher was preaching and I looked down at the kids and said "Shhhhh" and she said to me "Honey, just leave those babies alone they are fine." I started giggling and everyone started looking at me and I told them "Grandma said to just let the kids play" and everyone said well that's the way she would have wanted it, so maybe I did know her better than I thought.

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