When my parents divorced years and years and years ago my mom would ship me off to California to visit my grandma. I have so many wonderful memories of that. We would go to the beach, Disneyland and parks. My favorite times were when we would stay at their house and play dress up with Grandma’s old clothes, or hear about our family. The memories are intact because Grandma made a photo album of one of our trips that I look through often.
My grandmother made sure that my mom always felt welcome and part of the family. Even though her son was married to someone else my mom was always welcomed in her home.
As we grow up and life happens we visit with distant family less and less. It just happens. I made several trips over the years to California with my family to visit once in a while. Never long enough. Never often enough. When my grandma moved to Florida with my Aunt Kathy I had plans to visit. My Aunt Marilyn was very sick (breast cancer, again) and we decided to go and see the family in FL. Hurricanes ripped through the state and we didn’t make it. I missed saying goodbye to my Aunt. I missed another chance to see my family.
Aunt Kathy and Uncle Tom then moved to Georgia. Grandma in tow. One day Aunt Kathy called me and asked me to come see them. They made the trip happen. I flew to Georgia by myself. Wore my ‘I’m a Pepper’ t-shirt so they would recognize me at the airport. Was so excited to see my grandma, my aunt and uncle and my cousins Jenny and Becky! It was a great visit. Very healing for my heart. I never knew how much of a Pepper hole I had in my heart.
I was lucky enough to go back the following year and ‘granny sit’ for my Aunt. A whole week with my grandma. We played games and watched movies. Her mind sharp as a tack so she reminisced about her childhood and family, my family.
Then two years ago, Aunt Kathy calls and says please come out again. Bring your husband. All the grandchildren will be here. We went. It was awesome. I reconnected with my cousin Eric that I hadn’t seen since he was in high school. The trip was wonderful.
I am so thankful that over the past five years I had the chance to reconnect with my Pepper family. I don’t know how else I would deal with the news that came last night.
My grandmas heart has stopped.
My heart is aching.
That is my grandmothers hand. I snapped this picture when they dropped me off at the airport after the first visit in GA.
My grandmothers heart may have stopped beating but her heart, full of love is living on in my Pepper family. It is living on in my sister and my mom. It is living on in mine.
Love is a grandmother