Missing Relatives at the Holidays

The holidays are a special time of year for many people, but it is also a difficult time.  This is a special time to gather with family and friends to celebrate.  It’s also a time when we miss our loved ones who have passed away.  I’ve been talking about my grandma, granddad and Uncle Roger nonstop these past few weeks.  I realized today that it’s probably because I miss them so much and especially this time of year. 

My grandmother was not a sweet old lady.  She also wasn’t Madea (however, she did have a pistol).  She was one of a kind and I loved her very much.  She was my ace.  She was my best friend.  We had special things we would do together.  At Christmas time she would store all of her gifts in her closet and then that one special day, she would bring them out and I would wrap them for her.  We would sit on her bed and talk for hours.  She would tell me stories of her childhood and also report the latest family drama.  I can smell her Salem 100’s right now.  We would sit there and eat the boxes of chocolates she bought this time of year.  I really didn’t like them much, so I would pick out the good ones and eat those.  I wanted her to be happy and wanted to share this experience with her.  

When I would be home sick from school or visited during the summer when she lived in Spartanburg, she would always fix my favorite meals.  I was a picky eater, so granny knew just what I liked.  Her meals were always perfect.  When I was a high school and college student, I would ask her if she fixed this or that lately.  She would always tell me no and that she didn’t feel like it.  The next day or so I had that meal; all of a sudden, she was in the mood to cook.  She loved me.  She had her own way of showing it.  She always made me a homemade birthday cake.  She also taught me the value of moderation and sharing.  She always told me to get two cookies for me and two for my brother.  Now, I didn’t understand why I had to get some for him, but she taught me the value of always looking out for my brother.  She also wanted to be fair.  We would be in the grocery store and she made me pick out a bag of chips for me and one for my brother.  (Yes, Hakeem Akande you owe me)  Granny loved both of us.  I miss my friend. 

I also miss my granddad.  He was a manly man.  6’6 maybe…he was a giant.  I was his little Millie.  I always hated that nickname, but not from of my granddad.  It always sounded so magical coming from him.  He couldn’t read and write, but he was the wisest man I knew.  He taught himself to drive, got his license and bought a car in his late 70’s.  He only used an X to sign his name, but he could provide you with a thorough analysis of all the national and world events.  He didn’t buy me luxury gifts, but I couldn’t wait to get my 50 cent pieces from his Crown Royal bag.  He loved me and I loved him.   

My Uncle Roger was superman to me.  When we were kids he would flex his muscles, we would latch on and he would swing us!!  Oh, yes, he was the man.  He was about 6’6 and huge.  I'm sure he dominated in every sport and I thought he was the man.  He was the person who taught me the electric slide.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  We moved the coffee table out of the way and he taught my mom, my aunts and I how to slide.  He also turned me on to The Last Dragon.  Who can forget Bruce Leroy?  I went there every Saturday to watch that movie.   

I miss my family.  I know a lot of you are missing your family right now, as well.  One thing I have learned from the Nelson Mandela memorial service is to celebrate the life of the person.  Yes, it hurts and we miss them.  However, this holiday season I’m going to try my best to focus on their life and not their death!


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