Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tears from the past... Part 1

I was reading Laskigal's post today, and was struck by how it brought up so many memories of my own...

We all have our stories of hardships from our youth. Memories that range from less than idyllic to downright tragic.

My personal experiences shaped me into who I am today, of that I have no doubt.

The details are extremely sharp and yet strangely strung together. In my mind, I recall a summer of joy. A summer of vacationing in Florida. Our FIRST family vacation! We had never done anything but camp before and this was a big deal. Putting my feet into the ocean for the first time. Finding real seashells! Disney World and Bush Gardens! That perfect, wonderful trip....

That following fall, life changed. My mom's mother was diagnosed with cancer.

My grandma, the sweetest person, really... The woman who always brought extra presents for us on birthdays, so we wouldn't feel left out. I remember her washing my long hair in the kitchen sink... I can remember how she would sit patiently and let me and my sisters comb out her freshly set from the salon hairdo, giving her an afro not common in elderly Italian women... We would play pranks on her by moving her bookmark from one page to another and ask her, giggling behind our hands, if she wanted to read her romance novel. She always acted surprised and pretended to be angry... These are the simple memories I have. Not many. Just a handful, really.

I was, after all, only 8 when she lost her battle with cancer.

It is crystal clear in my mind. My dad picked me and my younger sister up at school that day. Highly unusual, as we were walkers, through and through. The excitement we felt over such a special treat was squashed by the look on his face, though he explained nothing. When I heard that we were going to Papa and Grandma's house that night, a SCHOOL night, I figured it out...

My own mother was only a few years older than I am today. Her children were only 2 years older than my own are.... That single comparison makes it impossible for me to write any more...
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