Growing up with no grandparents, I appreciated that my children had several grand- and great-grandparents from their father’s family in their lives. Living in close proximity with my own grandchildren have allowed them, too, to reap the benefits of those relationships. The boys spent a great deal of time with my mother when she lived with us. Now that we actually share the house, they not only get to know Mike and me as grandparents, but were close to Mike’s father Larry, their great-grandfather. Larry was a fixture at all our family get togethers, frequently shared meals with us, and attended all the soccer and ball games and concerts that the boys participated in. At 92, he continued to drive himself to join his friends at the bowling alley several times a week. He was a dear, witty man who was able to enjoy the few years following the death of his wife from Alzheimers.
Almost two weeks ago, my beloved father-in-law died suddenly, leaving a hole in our family life and our hearts. The service planning and event hosting depleted all my energy. The physical and emotional toll was great. At 15 Blue Boy showed the effects of losing someone close to him. Parents (and grandparents) often wonder what goes on in the minds of teenagers, but it was apparent that Blue Boy was aware that a significant relationship was severed.
I recall the deaths of beloved aunts and uncles as a child. The grief rebounds when a new death occurs. Sharing the house, as we do, brings relationships closer but can also lead to complacency. The boys are experiencing the cycle of life that will prepare them for future losses, be it their dog or grandparents. My heart cries for them as they learn these necessary lessons while I am thankful that they get to experience unconditional love.