TELL A STORY DAY: Family

mom and me 8

Mom, age 45 or 46. I’m around 8.

I’m told this is “tell a story day.”  

family in kissimmee

My dad, mom, sister, and me at age 10. Taken in Kissimmee when there was still forest between that town and Orlando.

My parents’ history is under “Memorabilia,” where you can learn what the word dysfunctional really means, and why military intelligence is an oxymoron.  There’s plenty to choose from.  For example:

  • Did you know that my mother chopped the tip of her own finger off as a child, her mother drowned it in Lysol, taped it together and it grew back with very little scarring?
  • Did you know that my maternal grandfather was gifted in languages and served as one of the translators in Cuba during the Spanish-American War?
  • Did you know that one of my paternal uncles shot a man in a bar and threw the gun in my father’s lap hoping he’d be blamed for it?

My story…hmmm…

Let’s see: My children’s father (2nd husband) died when our children were 5 and 7. My father died a year later in his sleep, and my mother died from sun stroke 7 years after my father passed away.

You never get over the grief, it just gets pushed back further into the recesses of your mind until…

…until  you find your mother’s garden gloves when you’re looking for something else, or the military uniform she preserved in plastic when he died. And then you cry as if you were experiencing the first moments of grief.

Don’t mistake loving someone for wanting to live with them. The desperation would have to be extreme for my family to be in the same room for more than a few days.  As irony would have it, they’ve spent 23 years caring for me after they died.

Though poor, my parents used their money wisely. They built the home I’ve lived in since my mother died, and they owed nothing on it.

I don’t think of myself as living with them as much as inside the memory of their strength, self-discipline and generosity. Without this home, one of my children or my sister would have to give me a place to live.

Believe me, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. 🙂