I have been known to watch the show Who Do You Think You Are? once or twice where celebrities take a look at their genealogy. I used to think it was odd that some of them would get so emotional learning about someone they had never known or who maybe even lived so long ago it was hard to fathom knowing them. I chalked it up to a good actor feels emotion. Then as I started to think about my son and wanting him to remember his great grandma I began to understand.
My last living grandparent knew my little guy for just a short period of time. During that time my son was the light of her life. While I will always remember her holding him, he won’t. He was just a baby. How could he ever know the love that this woman had for him? I guess you could say that is the circle of life, but does it have to be? With all of the technology we have and the amount of documenting resources there has to be a way for me to pass on more than just memories.
This got me thinking of my own parents and their grandparents. I had a great grandma that I remember who died when I was about 9 years old. But my other three grandparents are just stories and pictures. Each of my parents really only knew one set of grandparents but they were special to them. My mom’s grandpa died about a year before I was born, she and her entire family speak of him fondly and often. There were always pictures hanging in homes and stories to be told. My dad’s maternal grandparents died when he was fairly young. The pictures are in an album the memories are more dim but still full of love and gratitude. And his mother, my grandma, would sit and tell me stories about her parents often.
Because of the love my parents and grandparents felt for these people I have never met, I loved them by proxy. I admired their strengths and am grateful for their journey. I feel blessed that my parents had their love just as I was blessed with my grandparents love and my son will be blessed with his.
I now realize this gift I can give to my children and a way I can honor those that are gone. I can teach my son to love my grandparents as I did. This thought is incredibly satisfying. By showing him pictures and telling him stories, as well as how I feel, I am increasing the size of his family by generations! I am certain they would of loved him as much as I do, and I can teach him about their love. This thought eases my grief. I miss them but they do not have to be gone completely because I am giving the gift of their love and their memories. What a gift indeed.