Thursday, March 27, 2003

It's been two weeks since my last posting.

The main reason I fell off the wagon is that my grandmother, Harriet Stockdale, died March 14. She was 84, the first grandparent I've lost.

Grandma was not a June Cleaver type. She smoked like a chimney when she was allowed, which was never anymore, given that she was on 100 percent oxygen all the time and couldn't shake her pneumonia. She swore a lot, seldom cooked and hardly ever left the house.

She loved to watch tennis on television — an infinitely boring sport for children; I could never understand her fascination. And her youngest grandchildren and great-grandchildren often made her uneasy nowadays. Such rambunctious behavior was unnerving. Somehow, I understood that.

Although I don't really know what kind of mother she was, I can guess by looking at her children. I know the family often lived a tough life, with quick tempers and little money. Grandpa traveled a lot with his fishing-lure business, and Grandma was left to raise four unruly children mostly on her own. My father and his siblings are hellions now, and I can scarcely imagine what they were like then.

Grandma lived a tough life; I don't think there's any getting around that. She found ways to be happy, though, thank God. And I'm glad that in adulthood I got to know her better, was able to ask her stories about her past. It's hard to imagine, though, that when I get married or have children, that she won't be there. She'll never see me in a wedding dress, and I'll never have pictures of my babies sitting on her lap.

And my dad will never get to talk to his mother again. It's impossible for me to grasp a loss that consuming.


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