Part of my Thanksgiving weekend was spent in Perryville, MO. It is a town with a population of less than 9,000 about an hour and half south of St. Louis, MO. It is also home to my paternal grandparents.
My family and much of my extended family gathered together in Perryville to celebrate the 85th birthdays of my grandparents. It was a wonderful time getting to see cousins I haven’t seen in years and seeing their spouses and children.
There is something in my mind that only remembers my grandparents as young, active and alert. I remember my grandma baking the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. I remember my grandpa taking me out for ice cream. I remember making 2 or 3 visits a year with my whole family piled in the car and knowing my cousins better than I knew my best friends.
But it has been 7 years since I have paid a visit. And so much has changed—even in that amount of time.
Seeing my grandparents aging is a difficult reality to be faced with. My grandma is forgetful and has signs of dementia. She has to use a motorized scooter to get around and needs help with virtually everything. My grandpa helps her all he can and that further ages him. I found myself with such a great sense of sadness seeing them this way.
I also found myself with such a great sense of guilt for having not been more involved in the lives of my extended family. For having taken family for granted. I kept looking around at my cousins all mingling together and gushing over babies and sharing stories from their lives.
But I was sitting there with nothing but memories.
So badly wanting to reinvent those feelings again.
Wondering why we had grown so segregated.
I even have an uncle and 4 cousins who didn’t make it—and I have no clue where they are or what they are doing.
Hopefully through technology like facebook, I will be able to keep in touch my cousins again. At least those I was able to reunite with over the weekend. I desire to be a more active part of their lives. If they will have me. Because soon, it will be us who are 85 and I want to think that family will come see me.
Friends come and go (as I know far too well) but family is forever…
Shame on me for not making them all a priority until now.