On December 7, 2009, my 85-year old grandfather died in his sleep while his wife of 46 years slept beside him. This was on a Monday morning and his funeral was held on the following Wednesday. I attended that funeral as did my mother, the 3rd child of 5 children my grandfather had with his first wife, now deceased.
My grandfather's second wife is Bonnie. I grew up having 4 great-grandfathers, 2 great-grandmothers, 2 grandfathers, 2 grandmothers, and a Bonnie. I never called her grandma, granny, grandmother, or any of those other endearments. To me, it was completely natural to call her by name. That's what my mother called her step-mother and so I grew up following suit.
I love my Bonnie, who had two sons and two granddaughters of her own. Our families knew each other but didn't really mingle much over the years. There was always a his-hers aspect to the greater family dynamics, but perhaps what was not spoken of so much was what was truly theirs together....a lifetime of joys, sadness, family, and life. A lifetime of love.
Bonnie buried the love of her life the 2nd week in December just a couple weeks before Christmas. Then less than a month after Christmas four of her grown stepchildren came to their house to go through and distribute his personal belongings and those he had kept of his own father's. One child was missing in this misadventure and that would be my own mother who was not told of this gathering, before nor after.
That is, until today when Bonnie called to talk. She is an 86-year old woman who has lost her husband and longtime lover. She is alone in a large house which now has empty space where my grandfather's memory once lived. Bonnie was surprised to learn that not one of my mother's siblings told her of their gathering. No one invited her. Nor did anyone think to wait a few months so that Bonnie could take her time in being close to him through his personal treasures.
However, my aunts and uncles did choose what items to allow my mother to keep, or rather which ones to set aside on her behalf without her knowledge. Who knows what those things are but we at least know that they are not the lawnmower or weedwacker which were taken. Tell me, who takes lawn equipment from the home of a grieving widow who still has to take care of the lawn?
I am so upset by this. Upset for my mother whose siblings worked in pseudo-secret. Upset for the loss of an opportunity to see for myself (someday) what treasures my grandfather had saved through the years. But mostly, very much upset for my Bonnie who is alone and sad and will still be grieving for many moons to come.
I wonder if anybody took the brand new unused wallet which I had given my grandfather a few years ago before I learned that he had stopped using a traditional wallet after his was pickpocketed some decades earlier while on vacation in London.
In a related funny story, for several years I gave my grandfather wonderful books, ones which I was sure he would greatly enjoy. However one year he finally asked that I give him no more books. It was that Christmas that he finally confessed that he never read books. The Dallas Morning News was enough to satisfy him.
Back to this story. The gathering of siblings apparently happened a couple of weeks ago and since that time my mom had spoken with two of her siblings, but neither of them breathed a word of what they had accomplished. Not even to inform her of what they decided she might be interested in keeping.
Bonnie doesn't have a computer and certainly doesn't follow my blog, but I will make it a point to send her my love. For not everybody grows up with their very own Bonnie. I am truly a fortunate girl.