Our home, in the old days…

When Dave and I first became a couple, we had two boys and three girls…my two boys, and his three girls.  It was 1991, and we didn’t blend much of our time together, at first.  Dave and I lived in separate houses, and brought our children together only on occasions of social gatherings with people from work, so that they would not feel the pressures of becoming parts of families which were not their birth families. 

Divorce was difficult enough for all five of our children, that Dave and I thought we should spare them of trying to get to know each other as step-siblings.  We tried hard to introduce them, without obligations.  We left “step” out of our vocabulary when our relationship became public.  We felt our children should simply acknowledge each other as siblings.  At times, it worked.  At other times, it did not.

Within a year, Dave lived at our address, mine and the boys’ and my mom’s…albeit, in a room over the garage, so there would be no territorial issues.   My mom, Aline (aka Grandma to my boys) had been living with us for some time.  My boys’ father, Michael, lived just a couple of miles away; same for the girls’ mother, Wendy; and the fact that our collective divorces were contentious, deprived all of us of making the most of our circumstances. 

We all look back now, with knowledge that could have helped make this period of our lives easier, but with our then-limitations, were unable to change.  We knew nothing of things to come, so we proceeded as we were able.  Dave and I blame ourselves for so much, but can’t blame ourselves for everything, for we were working with what was.

Many years passed, and Dave, Nat, Owen, Grete, Emma, Lara, Grandma, and our extended families – Michael, Lyn, Laura, Sara, Nana, Emmitt, and Jackie, on my side; and Wendy, Grandma Linda, and Little Grams, on the girls’ side; all moved forward in the ways we knew we could manage at the time. 

My brother, after whom Owen was named, Emmitt (Owen’s first name), and his wife, Jackie, were in a county far south at the time, and our encounters were few and far between in those early years.  We are all so very different now. 

Eventually, Dave, the boys, Grandma, and I moved south because I thought my mom and my brother should have time together before she passed.  Those years were difficult, and predestined, it seems.  Emmitt and Jackie were there with us when Mom died. 

Nat, who had moved north again, visited Mom (his Grandma) in a skilled nursing facility a couple of weeks before she passed, before she was transferred to acute care, and that was the last time he saw her.  He cried in the car when we left, and said he knew he would never see her again.  We all knew.

I will never forget the last time Owen visited Mom (Grandma, to him) in the hospital.  He followed me into her room, and she waved to him, one hand under the blanket and the other outside, both waving furiously at him, and she said, “Hey, Owie.  You’re here.”  He was young, and waved back as though they were the best of friends, and said sweet things to her lying there in her hospital bed.  In real time, they had always been oil and water, because they were so much alike (although neither of them wanted to admit it).  Owen came and sat next to her bed with me for hours.  She was failing fast at the time, and was in and out of consciousness.  He sat quietly, watched her for long periods of time, and no one will ever know what he was thinking.  She passed two days later.

Owen told me after that last night in her room, that he couldn’t go back to the hospital.  I understood, and didn’t ask him to come with me after that.  In the days after she was gone, he sat with me for hours each day, on our porch in the sun, and waited for me to return to my old self.  I never did.  And, he let me be.

I will never return to my old self, that new old-self…after Mom’s passing.  I am here again.  A new-me, the me I never wanted to know.  Owen would get it, even if no one else does.

Four of us have moved on to the afterlife – Little Grams, Grandma, Nana, and our youngest, Owen.  How?  And, why, in that order?  None of us can know.  And, we cannot change it.  We can only hope that they are there in a time and space unknown to us in this life, holding hands with the grandfathers Owen never knew, Boompa and Emmitt, Sr. 

Jackie’s mom passed away just a few weeks after Owen, after battling the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s…so our losses have been numerous and painful in ways unknown to many people of our ages.  I’m not including all the friends and family who’ve passed on in the years before and during this time.  There are so many.  I’m 52 and Dave is 53.  Michael just turned 56 in July.  None of us who are left can look forward without wondering how Owen preceeded us.  It just doesn’t make sense.  And, yet, we know it happens to plenty.  We just wish it were not so. 

I still hear the laughter of those old days, when Nat, Owen, Grete, Emma, and Lara treated each other as siblings, and thought thoughts we’ll never know.  Dave and I hope they remember the good times.  They were plenty, you know?

We love you all, here and there, wherever there is.  It’s all still “our home” and we miss those of you have gone before us…beyond belief.  Safe travels…

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~ by Linda on August 20, 2007.

3 Responses to “Our home, in the old days…”

  1. San Diego —Playing guitar on the deck with dred locks, organizing his room as an artist, Wolf Medicine, animal shows on tv, being polite to Grandma even when she was grumpy,sitting on the 27 sections of couch next to Mama’s feet, hogging the shower, Origami, reading,s taying up til 3am discussing mystic concepts with that weird red headed lady that came to visit, Kitties, Kitties, Kitties, falling in Love for the first time…

  2. You know I m bad with typos ans pelling. forgive me.

  3. I understand and empathize with the changine of the self when these losses come in “chunks”. I lost my nucleaus of family in a 16 month period of time. My older brother who was more like a dad to me died in a racing car accident, 5 months later, my mother from cancer, 4 months later my maternal grandmother, the only grandparent that acted like one…throw in a divorce in the middle of it all…my son lamented that he “wanted his mom back”. I didn’t know how to tell him that the losses take things from you and you can never be what you once were…I understood what he was saying. I just couldn’t give him what he was wanting and needing…such is the way of grief and loss…thank you for expressing this in such a beautiful way with words…

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