Wednesday, October 10, 2012

21 years ago yesterday ...

The circle of life is a beautiful thing. 21 years ago that lesson came most unexpectedly. And like it often does, without warning.

The morning of October 9th, 1991, we welcomed our third child, another girl, into our family. Taylor Morgan arrived via c-section, and as my husband and I anticipated the imminent arrival of another baby, my parents stood behind a glass window and were able to see their 7th grandchild make her way into this world. What a gift that was for everyone. And what I didn't know at that moment, being able to witness such a thing ,was especially poignant for my father.

As Taylor arrived, Mark said, "Blue eyes honey, this one is going to have blue eyes." I remember that I thought that was a strange thing to say but I didn't pay much attention to it at the time. I was too wrapped up in the magic of my 8 lb 7 oz new arrival.

Later that afternoon, as we gathered in my room, and marveled at this gift of this new life, I glanced over at my mom and realized that my dad was not there. I asked her where he was and this look of sadness suddenly came upon her face and she slowly pulled the curtain around my bed.

She told me that my dad had left. He was boarding a plane, heading to New York. My sweet grandmother, his mom, had passed away that very morning. I was shocked. Saddened beyond words. Did that regret thing that we sometimes do. Sorry that it had been a few weeks since I had spoken to her. Knew it didn't do any good to play that game. Knew that it didn't matter. Knew that my grandmother loved me and I knew, that she knew, that I loved her.

My grandmother and I were very close. A gift that came later in my young adult life. Although I had amazing memories of my grandmother when I was a child, it wasn't until I was given the honor and privileged of caring for her after her stroke, that our bond became all the stronger.

Mark and I lived with my grandmother for 18 months. We became newlyweds and first time parents while there. We became experts in not only baby diaper changing but bed pan changing and sponge baths and recognizing signs of small transient strokes. We had baby monitors for our daughter and had an intercom as well, where my grandmother could call in the middle of the night if she needed us.We watched with sadness what happens when a feisty and seemingly healthy woman, is hit with a catastrophic brain injury. We saw the damage it does to not only the physical body but in some ways, sadder then that, the human spirit.

It was a difficult 18 months as young early 20 somethings but more then that, more than all the difficult laborious times,  it was primarily a time of great blessings. The difficult days I do not keep with me, instead I smile and find joy, in a time not laden with burdens but rather overflowing with abundant joy.

Yesterday I celebrated not only the life of my beautiful daughter but also the life of my beautiful grandmother. She was a remarkable woman, who saw tragedy and great sadness over her lifetime, but through it all she possessed a strength of great perseverance. A perseverance that I like to think I have inherited.

 *Trick candles coming up!

And Taylor, she did have blue/gray eyes. That is, up until she was 2 or so, when they oddly and like her older sister Jessica, turned green. I saw my grandmother in those eyes for awhile. And today, I may not have that same reminder, but my grandmother remains with me in many other ways. Ways that have allowed me to see life and living and aging with an appreciation I would not otherwise have had.

 *Probably the 5th time she tried blowing them out. I adore this child's infectious laugh.

 The circle of life. A beautiful thing. Even and maybe most especially, in the presence of great sadness.

* Grandpa steps in and we have success!


Elizabeth said...

So sweet and moving -- and that Taylor is gorgeous!

Anna said...

Beautiful Heather! I can see you and your mother in her face..... So true the circle of life. Beautiful!

Justine said...

I have never heard of another person whose child's eyes changed color at 2. My son's changed from blue to green at that age also.

Happy birthday to your daughter and thank you for sharing the beautiful thoughts of your grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Happy Brithday Taylor - hope you enjoyed your special day.

Yes - I do remember the special bond you had with your grandmother Heather (& Mark). She so loved "baby" Jessica. I can still see her sitting in her chair with Jessica in her carrier on the floor next to her.



Peter Olson said...

The Virtuous Wife:
She is worth far more than rubies.
She watches over her household.
Her children and husband praise her.
She fears the Lord and is praised by everyone who has the honor to know her.
(Ref. Holy Bible; Proverbs 31:10-31)

I praise God for all the women of honor in my life.
I have been blessed by so many.

Thank you Lord! :-)

Have a great day and may you be blessed. Amen!

Merideth said...

Happy Birthday to your Taylor, and love for the memory of your grandmother. Glad that your dad got to be there to clebrate with Taylor. I know that means a lot to him even as he continues to grieve the passing of his mother all those years ago.....

Also, I love Zoey's face in the last picture....she looks like she is thinking "Um seriously y'all? How many of you is it going to take to blow out those candles?!" :-)

Much love to you and yours

krlr said...

What a special day. And how very sweet that you are able to celebrate it - celebrate the life your grandmother led and the new life her family created. Happy birthday to your daugther.