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411th Friday Blog Roundup

Josh’s grandmother died yesterday.  She never referred to me as Josh’s wife, instead calling me one of her grandchildren when she introduced me to someone else, and I simply called her Grandma back, so I feel funny calling her Josh’s grandmother as I try to explain the relationship to you, and instead I will call her Great-Grandma, borrowing the twins’ perspective.

She was the last of our grandparents and losing her feels like a final thread has been cut, something that was anchoring us.  She is not the last of that generation — we still have great aunts and great uncles, and with this family tree project, I keep finding new people in that generation that are still alive to connect with.  But those people all line up diagonally from us; she was the last one who was directly above us.

A few weeks ago, we went up for a visit so I could show her the work I did on the family tree.  As she started talking, I took out the iPad and recorded an hour of her telling stories about various people on the tree, her parents’ store, streets where she once lived.  She couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast, but she could still recall all of her favourite trips she took with her husband.  We went outside, and I took photos of her with Josh and the twins.  I would have never done these things if not for the ChickieNob suggesting this project.  Life is so strange; these chance decisions leading you sometimes to obtaining the most precious things.  I am so thankful that we have those stories.  And it also drives home the point that all of us serve a purpose.  The ChickieNob’s role in our family is to always suggest these ideas, to push us to make time for things that are important.

I rarely have flying dreams; I can literally only think of three times that I’ve had one.  But in the hours after she died but before we knew, I was dreaming that I could fly, kick off from the ground and soar above everyone else.  I told Josh about the dream when I woke up, how amazing it felt to fly like that all through the night.  And then we got the call, and it made me wonder if that was some sort of goodbye.  If my unconscious mind somehow knew that she was now gone, and it was releasing her, the archetype of flying.

I wrote about her years ago when she gave me her cake plate.  This was that day that I was worried about back then.  And now it’s here.  And I am so grateful that I got to be part of her life.

*******

And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Twice it happened this week that I had a post on my list of possibilities and then someone placed it in the comment section.  So.  The first is Altered Type who created a ritual marking the start of living childfree after infertility, much in the same way that someone would send a pregnancy or birth announcement.  This was the first time I read something like this, and I thought it was BRILLIANT.  She explained why they chose an announcement: “Discussing it over the phone was never an option for us; not only would we struggle to explain ourselves without resorting to people-pleasing words, but they would have difficulty listening. It’s a taboo subject: childlessness. People everywhere have trouble merely acknowledging there is such a thing as a real life without children.  Any wonder we were having trouble accepting it ourselves.”  I love this.  I am a person who needs rituals, who needs to mark things in order to feel closure or to feel the energy of a new start.  This feels like the most perfect idea in the world.  I actually added a link permanently to Operation Heads Up on the left sidebar.

The second one was All Grown Up’s post on post-adoption blues.  It is a deeply honest look at open adoption, the thoughts that probably never cross the mind of the people who suggest you “just adopt.”  Because loss is wrapped up in the definition of adoption.  She writes, “As I stand back and watch them interact, I question what my whole place is in this picture.  It is SO SO SO SO very strange and hard and not normal.  But it is my normal.”  It is clear reading this post how much love is flowing to this child from everyone in the triad.  This raw post is a must-read.

My Preconceived Notion has a post about single motherhood.  Again, I loved it for its honesty; for its insight into another person’s world.  You take common ideas — pain or stress — and see them through a very different lens.  She invites you in to take a look, to understand, to pause for a moment in someone else’s shoes.

Lastly, Hapa Hopes talks about her FET.  She begins, “Everyone says that FETs are a piece of cake.  ‘Everyone’ is stupid.”  Just because the cycle doesn’t contain as many injections or the retrieval doesn’t make it emotionally easy.  On the contrary, with fewer distractions, there is more time to think, which can make things harder.  I love this other side of the story.

The roundup to the Roundup: Our last grandparent is gone.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between September 14th and September 21st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

48 comments

1 Amanda { 09.21.12 at 7:52 am }
2 HereWeGoAJen { 09.21.12 at 9:31 am }

I’m sorry for your family’s loss, Mel. I will be thinking about all of you.

3 A.M.S. { 09.21.12 at 9:33 am }

Holding you all in my heart even tighter today than usual and wishing Great-Grandma a wonderful journey.

4 Katie { 09.21.12 at 9:37 am }

I am so sorry for your family’s loss, Mel. You are all in my thoughts during this difficult time.

5 marwil { 09.21.12 at 9:57 am }

Sorry to hear about Grandma, but how wonderful that you caught that moment together on your last visit.

6 Dora { 09.21.12 at 10:05 am }

So sorry for your family’s loss. Big hug, my friend.

Thanks you for including my post in the roundup. I cried, again, when I saw this. It was hard to write, hard to post, but I’m glad I did.

7 KeAnne { 09.21.12 at 10:06 am }

I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I love that she considered you one of her grandchildren, and it sounds like the family tree project was kismet. So glad you had that day with her.

8 Jendeis { 09.21.12 at 10:41 am }

Baruch dayan emet. May Hashem comfort you and yours amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Thinking about you.

9 Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse { 09.21.12 at 11:05 am }

I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. What a wonderful person she was, and how serendipitious that you had that time togther recently.

Segueing gracelessly … May does it again:
http://nutsinmay.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/diamonds-and-rust/
Just try to read this without crying in empathy.

10 Sharon { 09.21.12 at 11:17 am }

I’m sorry for your loss, Mel. Glad you got to have her in your life.

11 jjiraffe { 09.21.12 at 11:22 am }

I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so glad you were able to hear one last story…abiding with you all.

12 Tiara { 09.21.12 at 12:05 pm }

I am so sorry your family’s for your loss. The value of having that video & such a lovely last visit is priceless.

13 Rebecca { 09.21.12 at 12:11 pm }

I am so sorry for your loss. Your description made me cry and think of such a lucky wonderful relationship to have. I’m thinking of my Grandma now and how, 13 yeas after she died, she still comes to me in my dreams sometimes and, when I wake up, makes me feel happy and warm and loved and blessed.

14 twangy { 09.21.12 at 12:29 pm }

So sorry to hear of your sad loss. It’s so tough.

I did a similar project with my father-in-law. Like you I am so happy to have his stories all told in his beautiful lyrical voice.

15 It Is What It Is { 09.21.12 at 12:53 pm }

I am so glad you have the many memories you do to bring you comfort during this time of loss.

16 S.I.F. { 09.21.12 at 3:25 pm }

I am so sorry Mel. It is always so hard to lose someone you love. 🙁

17 Cristy { 09.21.12 at 4:01 pm }

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Mel. May you and your family find comfort and peace during this time.

Here’s my recommendations:
http://mommyodyssey.com/2012/09/19/and-then-i-had-a-talk-with-silent-bob/

http://missconception-ads.blogspot.com/2012/09/its-supposed-to-work.html

http://followeveryrainbow-emhart.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-letter.html

18 Stupid Stork { 09.21.12 at 4:09 pm }

So sorry to hear that, Mel… That’s amazing that you had that little ‘project’, and it sounds like one of your twins has the touch of the shine to them. 😉 So sorry for your loss.

As for blog reading.. I really liked this one from SLESE1014 this week, about how with the various stages of infertility there’s always some kind of guilt involved:

http://fertiltyfrustration.blogspot.com/2012/09/good-griefwhy-do-i-feel-guilty.html

19 Kathy { 09.21.12 at 4:54 pm }

Sorry to hear about Grandma/Great Grandma. I got chills reading about your flying dream and totally believe it was some kind of sign. Love that you and your children had that special visit with her not long before she died.

Bob’s maternal grandma, who I was very close with, lived ten years longer than my grandmothers who both died in 2000. We got to see and spend time with her just a few days before her death and I can still picture the last time we said goodbye to her. Sending thoughts and prayers your way as you celebrate her life and honor her memory.

“What we have once enjoyed and loved deeply we can never lose. For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller

20 Amel { 09.21.12 at 4:55 pm }

SO sorry to hear about your loss, but glad to know that you’ve got a chance to hear stories about many things in her past.

21 Rachel { 09.21.12 at 4:58 pm }

Baruch dayan emet. I’m so sorry for your loss. xoxoxo

22 Annalee { 09.21.12 at 5:43 pm }

I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

I read a beautiful post this week from Lisa on how her son’s story helped save another baby’s life. It’s beautiful to think of how our precious angels can live on through us.
http://dear-finley.blogspot.com/2012/09/finley-helps-save-lives.html

23 May { 09.21.12 at 7:08 pm }

I am so sorry for your and Josh’s loss. Thinking of you all.

24 Jo { 09.21.12 at 7:10 pm }

My heart breaks for you in your loss. Even when a full, long, life is lived, it is so hard to say goodbye. I will be thinking of all of you this weekend.

25 luna { 09.21.12 at 7:12 pm }

I am so sorry for your loss, and for Josh and the twins too.
holding you all in my heart.

my last grandparent was also the one I was closest to, my nana. there was something so awful and sad about having that door close forever. how wonderful that she could tell you some stories for your family tree, and for your memories too. I love that the chickie nob’s role is to remind you all to do such things.

when my nana was dying, Mac and I went to visit with her a lot. one afternoon we sat in her bedroom. she was in her favorite chair by the window, and we were listening to the story of how she and my grandfather met and married. I can’t remember all the details, and I should have written it down, but what we both remember is the sparkle in her eye, the crackle in her voice, and the joy in her heart as she spoke of her one love. it was all I could do to not break down in tears listening to share that story, in the midst of her own pain and depression as she approached her last days. (btw, I just made my uncle’s 70th birthday cake on her cake plate, and it was lovely to have her there with us.)

26 Sarah { 09.21.12 at 7:26 pm }

I am so sorry for your loss….but how wonderful to have those stories recorded for the future generations. YAY for Chickienob’s idea for the family tree project…

As for the flying dream…I wish I had a clue as to what half of my dreams meant, but I think your take on it being a subconscious goodbye is wonderfully sentimental….your family is in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time

27 Lisa { 09.21.12 at 8:32 pm }

Thanks for the shout out.

I’m so sorry to hear about Josh’s Grandma. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

28 m. { 09.21.12 at 8:39 pm }

Dear Mel, I’m so sorry you lost someone you love, someone who held you in her heart along with all of her other grandchildren. Sending loving vibes to you, Josh and the kiddos (who both always seem to have great ideas.)

Dreams with flight…whenever I am lucky enough to have one it always seem I wake too soon. I always try to close my eyes, get back to that place, fly again, but it rarely, rarely works. I don’t know what any of that means. But I dig your interpretation of your evening in the sky.

29 a { 09.21.12 at 8:51 pm }

I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Josh’s (and your) grandmother led a very interesting and full life. I’m glad you got a chance to record some of it.

Do you suppose ChickieNob will retain her role as the idea girl throughout her whole life?

30 Dora { 09.21.12 at 11:22 pm }

I’ve been thinking of you all day. Hope you’re doing okay.

This post from Lexie had me nodding in agreement throughout. (Warning, it’s about parenting.) http://beyondacquara.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/about-that-time-i-thought-i-had-a-big-gay-crush-on-a-fictional-teenage-character-but-then-i-figured-out-it-was-just-that-i-was-mad-at-my-parents/

And your post about Romney and your kids. Just rocked! ChickiNob, I <3 you! Wolvog, your mom wouldn't vote for Romney if you paid her with a controlling share of Apple. And like your mom could EVER stop feeding you! Really! http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2012/09/a-conversation-with-two-of-the-47/

31 Mud Hut Mama { 09.21.12 at 11:40 pm }

So very sorry to hear about your Grandma – thinking of you and your family. What a special girl you have – so glad the ChickieNob has pushed you to make time for the family tree project which has led to that recording of your Grandma and stories of your family.

32 Mali { 09.22.12 at 12:15 am }

Very sorry to hear of your family’s loss. But how wonderful, how timely, that you had that time together a few weeks ago.

33 Esperanza { 09.22.12 at 12:54 am }

I really appreciated this post today. I can’t imagine restarting my life at 37 but I appreciate how difficult it would be.

http://adventuresininfertilityland.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-life-as-human-ping-pong-ball.html

34 Jen { 09.22.12 at 12:57 am }

A very sad day for you both. There are a few, rare people in our lives, like your ‘Great-Grandma’, that have a special place in our hearts and our memory. The fusion of old and new worlds is something we can easily take for granted – I love that you used your iPad to capture some of her favourite, unique memories from a time that we can only imagine in our minds. You’ve reminded me now of my (favourite!) Grandma, lost a very long time ago, but still so wonderful to think about – I remember her through her story telling and the time and attention she paid to me. I think it’s a great thing to pass on our stories like this, to anyone who is special to us, even if it’s the next door neighbour!

Best wishes to you and Josh.

And a heart-felt Thank You! for including my words in this ’roundup blogs’ post, and a link in the sidebar. I struggled to find stories of living childless/free after infertility and the few links and resources I did eventually find were pretty much a life-saver for me. So if someone else can find my words helpful, that’s just the most wonderful thing in the world to me (passing on my story, so to speak!). I appreciate it so much.

35 St. E { 09.22.12 at 1:23 am }

Very sorry for your family’s loss. Sending eternal peace wishes for your grandmother…I love the fact that you included Dora’s post in this RoundUp…very honest indeed.

36 Manapan { 09.22.12 at 2:54 am }

I’m very sorry for your family’s loss.

37 Amel { 09.22.12 at 6:17 am }

Here’s my recommendation. A post that makes people think about life without kids. I LOVE it! Really poignant and the last paragraph really packs a punch. 🙂

http://gameguessing.blogspot.fi/2012/09/can-you-imagine-not-having-child.html

38 marwil { 09.22.12 at 10:26 am }
39 Glitter&Rainbows { 09.22.12 at 3:29 pm }

Sorry for your family’s loss. Your day together visiting and recording stories sounds wonderful though.

40 Mina { 09.22.12 at 3:39 pm }

I too am sorry for your loss. It makes me revisit my relationship with my own grandmother.

I read this post that I found very honest, about the times when you realise that you love your child, yet wish there things about his behaviour that you could do without.

http://anembarrassment.blogspot.de/2012/09/unlovable.html

And then it was your post http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2012/09/a-conversation-with-two-of-the-47/
The post itself is brilliant. I wish I could read some of the comments without cringing, but I guess this is what democracy is all about, agreeing to disagree.

And May’s latest post is already mentioned, so I am off to read some more.

Thank you for doing this every week for us, Mel.

41 loribeth { 09.22.12 at 10:14 pm }

I’m so sorry, Mel. Grandmas are so special. Mine passed away in October 1999 & my grandfather passed away almost exactly one year earlier — I think of them all the time, but most especially at this time of year. So wonderful that you captured some of those memories on video!!

42 Daryl { 09.23.12 at 3:00 am }

I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, Mel. Thinking of all of you.

43 Her Royal Fabulousness { 09.23.12 at 11:48 am }

I’m so sorry, Mel.

Cristy wrote a great post this morning about pain olympics:

http://searchingforoursilverlining.blogspot.com/2012/09/one-of-those-days.html

44 Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse { 09.23.12 at 1:49 pm }

Two more, one a beautiful piece of writing from Marwil about measuring her own wait in the lives of her niece and nephew –

http://marwil.org/2012/09/21/a-birthday-boy-and-girl-and-the-time-that-have-passed-since-their-arrival/

– and another, equally beautiful, from Gemini Momma on the profound thoughts that cleaning out a bathroom cabinet can lead to –

http://threegeminisandasagittarius.blogspot.ch/2012/09/cleaning-out-cabinets.html

45 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 09.24.12 at 12:14 am }

Mel, I’m so sorry to hear about Josh’s grandmother. But so glad you had that time with her. It’s sometimes funny how things work out. What precious moments. She sounds like a wonderful and very welcoming woman.

46 missohkay { 09.25.12 at 9:15 pm }

I’m sorry for your family’s loss.
For the Round-up, this post by SRB, “The Pregnancy Factory” is so beautiful and moving. http://littlechickennugget.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/the-pregnancy-factory/

47 mrs spock { 09.30.12 at 10:10 am }

I am behind and catching up…so sorry to hear this.

48 deathstar { 10.13.12 at 12:48 pm }

My condolences to you and your family – perhaps you can take those memories and photos(in one of those photo books) and put them together so everyone can enjoy them.

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