Blood runs cold

My family is… unconventional to say the least. We are not the Brady Bunch, nor are we the Cleavers. Most of us come from broken families that have patched ourselves together with other broken families. Some of us were never together, so we can’t be broken.

My grandmother married the man I knew as my grandfather in 1984. She had 3 children from a previous marriage, and he had 5. When they married in their 40’s, they never planned to have children together.

When I was born in 1985, my grandparents fell in love with me instantly. I was treated as if I were their own child. I grew immeasurably close to both of them. Even though my mother was not his daughter, I was his first grandchild. He never even considered putting the word “step” before granddaughter. Not once did it cross his mind that his blood did not run through my veins.

When I was 16 years old, I lost my grandfather. The world fell out from underneath me. After the world starting spinning once again, my grandmother and I found that his children turned an icy shoulder to us. They were downright nasty to my grandmother and I, even being so bold as to write a letter to her stating “He never spent time with his REAL grandchildren, because he spent so much time with YOUR granddaughter, and it’s her fault they don’t know him as well as they should.”

This week, I lost my great-grandmother, my grandfathers mother. Even after my grandfather past, Grammy Margaret treated me no differently then any of her “real” family. She continued to be warm and loving. Although we were never close, she always loved me.

Her service was tonight, and the rooms were filled with the people I always knew as my family. People I knew as my aunts and uncles stood arm to arm to pay their respects. 20-somethings I grew up with as cousins, played in the streets with, chased around yards at cookouts. Family, although 4 of his 5 children didn’t even bother to show up.

Only one of my cousins acknowledged my presence. My “aunts” and “uncles” gave me cold hugs and cold hello’s. I felt as if I was the white elephant in the room. Everyone knew I was there, knew who I was, but no one wanted to be warm to me.

So, Grammy Margaret, I hope you can forgive your family for treating someone the way you never would have dared. And thank you for loving me, even if they wouldn’t. I will dearly miss you.


My Grammy Margaret suffered from dementia for quite awhile before she passed on, and it was always so hard to see such a strong woman losing herself like that. For today’s Awareness Wednesday, please visit Alzheimers.org for more information on this disease and how to help. Thank you.

I’ll shut up in a moment of silence for Grammy Margaret.


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February 2010
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