Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

I am my Grandmother’s Granddaughter  — July 16, 2017

I am my Grandmother’s Granddaughter 

Hey Everyone!

Somethings are genetic, others are factors that come into play from how we were raised and what we were exposed to from a young age. 

As I am getting older, I have been realizing how much I am like my maternal grandmother. Granted she was the grandparent I spent the most time with. She lived in the same city as I did growing up, so she helped raise my brother and I. She was also the grandparent I had in my life the longest (she passed away when I was 22). So it’s only natural that some things were passed on to me, from her, by having been able to spend so much time with her. 

Other things, like the fact that my body doesn’t handle heat all that well can’t be learned. At least I know where I get it from. Not that I mind. I am definitely more of a fall and winter person anyway. 

Things I learned from my grandmother: That the beach is amazing, and that it never gets old, no matter how often I get to go to the beach. She also taught me how to knit. 

She also happened to be my birthday celebration buddy. Our birthdays were only 2 days apart, so we often celebrated together. I was born 2 days before her 69th birthday. 

I am glad that I was blessed to have her as my grandmother. She was always there for me. Even though I tend to be miserable in the summer from the heat, It reminds me of her. Air Conditioning and the fact that I know Autumn is coming are the the two things that get me through summer. 

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Part of Growing Up — August 5, 2015

Part of Growing Up

Hey Everyone!

I woke up to overcast skies and cool temperatures, which looks and feels like fall is here. Who knows how long it will last since it is only August. 

This week is youth camp, and it is kind of bitter sweet to not be there as I loved it as a kid. I had also gone a couple times as a counselor while I was in college. I had gone as a camper from the first year I was old enough to go (going into 4th grade), through the summer before starting sophomore year of high school. 

There were several years where my grandparents would pick me up from youth camp, and then I would spend a week at their house. 

Being “Auntie” is Awesome! — June 22, 2015

Being “Auntie” is Awesome!

Hey Everyone!

I have had a very busy and productive Monday. I switched my weekday off so I could watch two of my friend’s kids for a couple hours while she was getting stuff done here in town. Prior to watching the kids I had gone to the post office and ran up to NE Portland to my favorite bakery to get a treat.

My friend had asked me this past Friday, if I could and would switch my week day off to watch her 6 and 2 year olds while she got things for her family organized for a church convention that is coming up, here in the city I live in. I told her I would gladly do it. Beings that she trusts me, and it is easier to get something done when you don’t have two little’s under foot, and they would have more fun getting to play and go on an “adventure”.  I had also gotten my little 2 year old “Niece” (my friends little girl) to say my full first name, as for the past few months she could only get “Ecky” of it, and while I still am called “Ecky” by her, she is able to say “Erica”. I had grown up around this particular location so I knew it like the back of my hand. It has changed a fair amount since I was 2 & 6, but it still holds so many childhood memories for me, many are bittersweet as they included my dad’s mom who passed away when I was 13.

Today, I really got thinking about how much my life has changed in the past 14 years, and how the good and bad have shaped the person I am today, and have shaped the person I want to be in the future.

I had also gone to lunch with my friend, her mom, and her kids, and had a great time. Afterward I had gone by the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, but sadly it was closed (I had forgotten that is not open Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday), so I came back to the house, and eventually went for a 2.5 mile walk (after getting in 2.3 miles in the course of errands and watching kids).

I get to end the evening getting more food, and getting ready for work tomorrow.

Funerals are Hard — March 27, 2015

Funerals are Hard

Hey Everyone!

Today has been a busy day. Beings that I work 4 ten’s, I had today off, which worked out well. I got up and out of the house this morning. I got some errands ran. I went to the bank and went grocery shopping. I stopped at Trader Joe’s, to pick up a few things there to mix up what I am eating a bit. I then stopped at Safeway to do the bulk of my grocery shopping. I came back to the house, put my groceries away, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and finished getting ready for my great-uncle’s funeral service. At the end of the service, after the flag that had been on the casket had been folded, my brother, a veteran Marine who had been trained on funeral duty fixed how the flag was folded, he couldn’t leave it not folded right.

After the service, we had the family dinner. Once home, I then made myself dinner because of my food intolerances. I have then spent the rest of the evening kind of zoning out trying to relax.

Growing up with a large extended family, over the years funerals for my great-aunts and great-uncles have sadly become all to common place for my dad’s side of the family. My dad’s mom was #4 of 7 children, and my dad’s dad was #5 of 9 children. I don’t know of anyone who enjoys a funeral, I know I dread funerals. I have dreaded them since I was a teenager after my grandmother passed away.

It has been about 13.5 years since my dad’s mom passed away, which was the first of my grandparents to pass away during my life, and that was hard on me. I took it hard, and struggled with it for years. That was half my lifetime ago. I still think about her often, and wonder how my life would have been different if she had lived to see me become an adult. In a way I am also glad she was not around for most of my teen years, and my young adult years. The grandparent I miss the most, is my mom’s mom. She had helped raise my brother and I. She was also the last of my grandparents to pass away. Because she had helped raise my brother and I, I saw her on a regular basis, and she had  been through a lot, as well as had raised two daughters (rather than 2 sons), which did make a difference. She passed away a couple months after I had graduated from college. She was the one I could call up and talk to when things were rough. I always knew she loved me. I also knew, once I was an adult, that if she didn’t approve of things I did, she would not chew me out.

The last year of my Grandma’s (my mom’s mom) life, coincided with my Senior Year of college. Her illness began progressing rapidly during winter term of my senior year. I feel like I had had the notion to work my butt of fall and winter term of that school year, so that spring term I would have a light course load spring term, which is logical in and of itself. Spring term I began looking for a job, then got busy with life, which included visiting my grandma as much as I could between getting homework and projects completed as well as being involved in a friends wedding. Of all my grandparents she was the one I wanted to make proud. Living my life in a manner that would continually make her proud of me, is a goal that I have. it in a way is how I want to honor her memory.

Finding parallels — December 6, 2014

Finding parallels

It is hard to comprehend that my grandma was my age when World War 2 ended, and that she had been the same age I was when I graduated college, when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place.

My other grandma was 12 when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred which was a year younger than I was when the 9/11 attacks occurred. That is more of something that I can try to put myself into, and comprehend the Emotions and everything else. While WWII and the 9/11 attacks (and subsequent wars) are two different events and circumstances, learning of your country being attacked on such a large scale, that will forever change your country has an impact on a young person. Having been to Pearl Harbor, seen the Arizona Memorial, seen what is left of the sunken Arizona, and been aboard the USS Missouri (which is now docked at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, and took part in WWII) made WWII real for me. It became more than just stories and something I read about in textbooks. I have seen and touched History, it is real.

There is a lot of history that all we have is what is recorded in history books and historical archives, but there is also so much that we can go, see, and touch. Being able to experience it, and what is left of it, is why I love it. Hearing about the experiences that those who lived through it tell about that period as well being able to go see what remains of of is why I love history.

Throwback Thursday — October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Hey guys!

Today while my Dad and I were straightening up the garage, and he came across one of the photo albums my grandma had made, of pictures from when my brother, myself and my two cousins on my dad’s side of the family were little. Is more pictures of my brother and I, and my cousins were in the family and Christmas pictures. Aaron and Jesse if you are reading this, I am sure this is one of you two somewhere, if you don’t already have it.

It is interesting to see myself at that age at my grandparents house in Washington, that I haven’t been to in 13 years. I remember snippets of being there with my grandparents, but as I grow older it feels like another lifetime and the memories are fading faster and faster. My grandma passed away almost 13 years ago, so there are a few things that I remember but not much about the early years.

I was the only granddaughter for my Dad’s parents, and I was their 3rd out of 4 grandchildren. I have heard the story that when I was little, my grandparents were out shopping, and my grandpa had seen this little pink coat and insisted that they get it for me 🙂

The two (well technically 4, but I made them into 2 pictures) pictures below are from when I was little. One is of me with each of my dad’s parents and the other is from when I was 3, and had gone to Medford with my grandma to visit her mom and her oldest sister. I can vaguely remember bits and pieces of that trip.

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Losing my Grandparents — September 1, 2014

Losing my Grandparents

If you are reading this post it means that I decided to post it, and to share with all of you something’s I don’t share with many people and not very often. Some of what I have written is hard for me to write about without tearing up.

In someways I feel like I am missing out on something when I see other young adults my age and older who still have grandparents who are alive and going strong.

One of my grandfathers, I never got to meet, as he died before My parents were married (and I came along about 8.5 years after they were married). My Dad’s mom passed away when I was 13, and that was the hardest one for me, as I never really knew how sick she was until the day before she passed. That hit me hard because 3 months previously I spent a week with her and my grandpa and didn’t have the slightest indication anything was wrong. I can remember being angry with her for years for not being there to watch her grandkids grow up (all 4 grandkids not just me). She’d only be 85 if she were still alive. She missed out on our high school graduations, 2 of us graduating from University, so far one of us getting married (my cousin), her first great grand daughter. Her death affected my life in a negative manner years after she passed away. It makes me sad now that it did have that profound of an effect on my life. Now that I am older, there is one thing I wish I could go back and do over, but I know I will never be able to have. The summer before she passed away I can remember her asking me if I wanted her to pray with me before I went to bed, and I said no, at 13 I felt too old to have someone pray with me before I went to sleep. I would love for nothing more than one more chance to have her pray with me. A lot has changed in 13 years. I know I have.

My grandpa (the one I got to know) passed away when I was 20, so I knew him, but at the same time I didn’t know him. If that makes any sense. He was a part of my life growing up, and I know he loved me, but it wasn’t the kind of relationship that I had with my Grandmas. The thing that I remember most about him was when I was 13, during camp of having him pray with me (different situation than with my grandma). The hardest part for me was that he had had a stroke while I was away at camp and my family chose to not let me know right away, so other people had gotten to me first asking me about how he was doing and I was clueless. I was ticked of more at my family than anyone else. I feel that at 20, I should have known soon after or at least the day I had gotten back from camp.

I was 22 when my Mom’s mom passed away, I had graduated from college a couple months before. Of all 3 of my grandparents to pass away in my lifetime her passing was the easiest for me. Even though she was the grandparent I was closest to. I knew months prior that she was not doing as great, I was also in my last term of college. I had worked my schedule out the spring before that school started so that my last term would be my lightest term credit wise, just so it would be an easy last term. That was before my grandma was sick. I totally believe that it was also God’s plan for that term, because he knew that I would be busy with job hunting, my grandma being sick and being involved with a friends wedding. He knew that I needed the easy last term to get the credits I needed and to graduate on time amid the chaos. My mom’s mom was the grandparent I was closest to. She looked after my brother and I when we were kids while my parents worked, so she in many ways helped raise me. When I was little I typically saw her at some point 6 days a week (5 during the week and Sunday mornings at church). She is also the one who I would call and talk to while I was in college. Our relationship changed over the years, she was still grandma and I had better have listened to what she told me, It shifted from Grandma the Adult/boss to Grandma the mentor I could talk to. I would always still be a kid to her, but she totally understood that by my junior and senior years of college I was an adult and facing real adult issues. Beings that I was a senior in college, and shortly after having graduated, I was able to be more proactive in knowing what was going on. I made sure that I was included in knowing, whether I asked my parents or found out by talking to my grandma myself. I came up from school at least a couple times to see her, and be with her. I had also gone to see her within a couple days before she passed away. I don’t know if having lost 2 grandparents prior to her passing or because I was older, or having been more involved and had the contact with her leading up to it, or what made her passing easier in a sense, but it just was. I knew it was coming, she was in her early 90’s and still had had her mind right up until not long before she passed. She was still the Grandma I knew, loved and knew was praying for me right up until the end. In the months and years that she has been gone I have grieved her death the most, but in a different way. I still miss her immensely and it has been 4 years. How I have grieved her death has been different. It is not me being an emotional train wreck for 3 months starting 3 months later (as I would have blocked it out the first three months) and then tried to move on and in many ways forget. This time it has been in remembering her. Knowing that she would be proud of where I am with my knitting, or remembering that her favorite season was also fall, and how much she loved the beach, and the smell of flowers. I got to see her personality in full force. Besides her just being my grandmother I got to know on a bit more on an adult level. I have an easier time talking about her, and mentioning something like “Grandma would have loved this”.

If you are reading this, I don’t want any of to feel sorry for me, as I am not writing this with a woe as me attitude, but rather as sharing how losing my grandparents has effected me differently with each one, and a wide range of emotions is normal. Crying and not crying at funerals is normal. The only one I cried at was my mom’s mom’s graveside service. I am one who prefers to cry privately, and crying in public is not a normal response for me.