This week a coworker of mine didn’t come in because her grandmother had just passed away that morning, meanwhile another coworker of mine had been traveling six hours back and forth every weekend to see her grandmother who is on her death bed. Even in the beginning of the year my boss had left in a hurry to go back to her home state because she had gotten the news of her grandmother’s passing, all the while I was thinking in my mind “wow these people are taking the passing of their grandmothers really hard.” My mind could not understand why, because to me it was just grandma, not Mom! Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks; “When you’re the only one who doesn’t grieve for grandma!”
So I ventured back some twenty years or so, when I got the call that my grandmother, “Mother Dear” had passed away. I grieved but not because of her dying, but because my mother had lost her mother. You see my mother had been living her entire life trying to please her mother and there was absolutely no pleasing her. I was never close to my grandmother, neither were my eight brothers and sisters. She lived in another state and never wanted to leave to be closer to her family here in Chicago. There was a time she had a brother and sister here (both are now deceased) but she never wanted to live here. However when she visited Chicago she never stayed with her daughter and grandchildren, it was way too many of us for her to be there and she’d stay with her sister. Although she was right there were a lot of us under one roof, it’s not like we wouldn’t make room for her. I mean she was our grandmother and she was only gonna be there for a short time. Never the less, she insisted on staying with her sister. This didn’t make us develop any type of relationship with her, it was to me that she just didn’t want to be bothered with us. I began to feel the same way, I didn’t want to be bothered with her either.
There was no high reverence to her being “GRANDMA ALMIGHTY” she was just Mother Dear which was not a term of endearment or a special name to call her, it was just the name my mother used to refer to her so we did the same and she never said otherwise. She was not the glue that held us together and when she died we fell a part or there was separation among the family, NOPE! After she’d passed away, we turned our attention towards our mother, whom at the time was ill herself and passed away six months later. But that’s another story to be told at another time. At any rate, I always felt that she just looked at my in shame for having 9 kids and marrying my father who was a dark skinned man, again another story for another time. So Mother Dear never really had a strong relationship with us, through my eyes she never had a relationship with us…….at all. When she died, she had a full family of grandchildren and great grandchildren of whom she never knew or some she never even met. Again through my eyes, I don’t think she ever cared to. So now fast forward to now, and I’m just baffled at how so many people are so grief stricken when they lose their grandmother and all though I know my reason of why I hear that voice in my head saying “it’s just grandma” I still get a little dismissive when others are so broken when they lose theirs. Now I have to shake off those feelings now because everyone’s grandmother experience is not like mine, and understand that for a lot of families grandma is the glue, the backbone, the first Mother of the family and her presence is missed once she is gone. People who experience this have this great ability to share stories of how grandma did this or grandma was so great at that, or even have traditions that grandma passed down to them. However, when you’re the only one who didn’t have THAT grandma, you don’t have those same emotions or feelings about grandmother and her demise leaves you with very little emotion or even without emotion at all.