If one were to liken a soul to a gyroscope, then mine was knocked off-center by two degrees some thirty years ago. The day my grandmother died.
Mary Ferry, “Mrs. Ferry” she was called by all the neighbors. You knew her as daughter. For me she was simply “Grammy.” I’ve written of her, scattered thereabouts, stories of her tough spirit, romantic side and always the pragmatic approach to grand kids.
So why write of her again and why now?
Because, as I look back over the past six months, I see a pattern and hear a child’s grief of all that is lost to me. No one said the people I grew up with wouldn’t be there forever. All those Uncles and Aunts and cousins – the ones that filled Grammy’s kitchen and brought life, anger, joy and sorrow. These people were supposed to be around for the great “always.”
Some passed away too soon. Long before they were ready.
Clarence fought. He fought like hell to stay just one more day. Still, it wasn’t enough.
Others, like Everett – the scrawny lad pictured on the left couldn’t wait to leave.
The bottle took care of that.
And Earle – the one of the far right? Mean man. Didn’t like him. But he was my father’s brother.
He visited Gram so often that he became a fixture. So, to a small child’s mind, he would always be around, right?
And the ones that left me later in life? Them I miss the most.
Maybe because I felt they really would be here forever, like Hyrim and his sweet wife, Rae.
Or Paul and Lilah.
And the last to leave won’t be the last. The gyroscope is wobbling now as I watch my parents age.
When I see this dashing figure, standing in front of his beloved plane and think –
how can Dad not be here to tell me the stories? No one will be left that remembers.
And my mom. My sweet and so incredibly lovely mother.
How could I even contemplate my world without her?
And so you see, it won’t take much to send that gyroscope careening again.
I still have my four brothers and I’m going to treasure them always. Aunts and Uncles and cousins to my daughters.
Ones that gather at Christmas to eat and laugh and love.
It’s just – how do I tell my kids that always is not always forever?