Good morning, Gail! How fortunate your father is living independently and is in good health! He deserves a healthy and kind old age after dealing with so much illness with his wives.

My mother’s grandparents were dead before I was born and she was an only child. I remember just three people from her family — an aunt who died when I was four or five and a cousin and her son. My father did not like the cousin, and he did not stay in contact with her for very long after my mother and the aunt passed.

My father’s father also died before my birth. My dad’s mother lived until I was eleven, but she was in Chicago (we were in Baltimore). She did come to take care of my sisters and me after my mother died and before my father remarried. But, once my stepmother was on the scene, my grandmother returned to Chicago. She never came to visit again, and I only visited her three times before her death — twice with my father and once with my stepmother when she took me for a month one summer and we traveled around the mid-west.

How about you? Were your grandparents a big part of your life? During my childhood, I accepted my lack of a mother better than I did my lack of grandparents. I was so envious of children with nearby grandparents! I longed for grandparenty unconditional love. Love from my father definitely came with conditions and was quickly withdrawn for days, weeks or months at a time when behavior did not meet his conditions. As an adult before reaching grandparent age myself, I habitually “adopted” grandparents — elderly people in my community or church who did not have kids nearby.

I don’t know if you read this story that I posted on Medium:

It was a tribute to my mother-in-law on the one-year anniversary of her passing. She was the closest thing to a mother I ever knew. Yes, I did maintain a relationship with my stepmother through the years, and I loved her, but she was often a hard woman to love. We had a close relationship in many ways, but it was a difficult one and she was not my ideal of a mother. My mother-in-law was. She was the mother I always wanted and needed. In spite of a language barrier — she spoke Spanish and only understood a little English and I speak only English and understand very little Spanish — she loved me in a way I’d never been loved before. She was an amazing woman and I will be eternally grateful for the eleven years she was in my life.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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