Last night, something happened that I’ve been thinking about since I was 11 years old: my mom’s mom died.
You may be wondering if she’s been battling an illness for the past 12 years. Nope, it was kind of sudden as far as I could tell. You’re probably also wondering why I didn’t call her my grandma, or some variation of that word, but that’s what has made this moment in my life something I’ve wondered about since 1999.
It all started in 1960 when my mom was born. Her biological mother, Faye, felt she was too young to raise a child, so my mom’s grandmother, Myrtle, (Don’t you love these old people names…) drove my mom home from the hospital. She completed adoption papers for my mom a few days later, and just like that my mom’s biological granny became her adopted mom while her biological mom became her sister legally.
All of this was kept from me when I was younger so I wouldn’t get so confused, but in 1999 when Myrtle died, my mom explained it all to me.
I had always called Faye “grandma” and had always called Myrtle “granny,” and also had a great aunt that we grandkids always called “granny Fox,” but in a year when I learned Faye was legally my aunt and granny and granny Fox died, I felt like a kid who had lost three grandparents in a single year.
But beyond that, Faye and her other daughters never had anything to do with my family except for Christmas, so I grew very resentful of my mom’s side of the family. I remember one time when I mentioned my birthday was the following week and Faye hadn’t even realized while she spent most of her time with my “cousins.”
And so it happened that I began to wonder what would happen when I learned what I heard yesterday about my aunt/grandma. Would I cry? Would it even matter to me? What emotions were going to take hold of me when I learned of her death?
It’s a morbid thought, I know, but with such a weird family history, it was something that came up in my mind countless times throughout adolescence.
And so when my mom delivered the news last night between Taylor’s volleyball match and my Wake Christian football game, I was speechless.
I had since come to terms with my grandma’s absence in my life thanks to my mom, who pointed out that within her side of the family (the portion that spent the most time with Faye) there were three teenage pregnancies out of wedlock, at least two jailbirds and exactly zero college ATTENDEES.
But with learning of Faye’s death, all I could feel was regret over the grudge I held for so many years.
I would have liked to have said goodbye, or at least to have seen her within the past five months, but it’s not so much about missed opportunities as much as I was just ashamed of adolescent Ty’s grudge against a family member.
Do you guys have any regrets concerning relatives or weird family tree stories?