Saturday, July 16, 2011

On a Happier Note...

So, I just went back and re-read my last 2 blog entries and I get that they weren't exactly positive.  When I decided to start this blog, it was to help other people through the journey of grief and to talk about the ups and downs.  While I don't want anyone to ever have to experience what we have experienced, I understand that it happens to different people at different times for different reasons.  I think most of the time, the feelings that surface are pretty similar and I think it's important for people to understand that it's not always a rosy path filled with butterflies and ice cream cones.  Even 2 years later, I still have my bad days just like everyone else.  I was just given the blessing of gab and have a talent for verbalizing my feelings and from time to time, actually making some sense.  It's a good thing that while I still have those feelings and insecurities, they don't last weeks or consume my life like they did in the past.

I want to share with you someone who is very special to me ~ my grandma.  She was this amazing woman who I was very close with.  Her name is Margaret Dempsey O'Dowd and she was very much the matriarch of my Dad's family.  She had 9 children (my Dad is #2), was a foster parent to several, taught preschool, and did so many other things with her life.  She was a Naval Officer along with my Grandpa (who coincidentally was also on Submarines ~ just like my husband).  Here is their wedding picture.

She did so much with her life and was always helping others.  They were very active in the Catholic Church and while I thank my parents often for my faith, I realize that it was the wisdom and deep-seeded culture of many generations before them.  My grandma and grandpa were in the deaconate program until my Grandfather passed away.  She decided to continue and finish the program.

I owe a lot of who I am to my grandma.  She was a wonderful woman, she always listened to me complain about my parents during those challenging teenage years, she always had a smile on her face, and she gave to everyone around her.  I still have a sweater of hers.  It's sealed away in plastic, but it still smells like her.

I wanted to share her life with you because I firmly believe that she is caring for Savannah right now.  I mean, who has more experience with children and foster parenting than her?  That woman had nothing but unconditional love to give.  I remember when I was really little and she stayed with me and my 2 older sisters while my parents were at the hospital with my younger sister.  She was born 3 months premature and had a lot of health problems.  She let us make whatever we wanted for lunch ~ even sugar sandwiches (which sounded like a good idea at the time) and my personal favorite ~ butter & peanut butter together.

I remember driving home from San Diego up to Monterey before she died.  She had a brain bleed, but she waited until all of her children had the opportunity to fly from all over the country to be by her side.  She had a massive stroke, but I will never forget how she looked at me and mouthed to me that she loved me.  She passed away 6 months before I met my husband, Eric.  After Jeremy was born, we went to Chicago and visited her grave site.  It's funny because we have a very large family plot there.  After we lost Savannah, we seriously contemplated having her buried there, but I knew that I would want to visit her all the time and make sure everything was being taken care of, so we decided to bury her here in VA.

My grandma instilled many things in me and I attribute much of who I am because of her.  I gained my rich Irish culture, my loving and giving nature, my willingness to help others within the community, and to take the things I've learned and share them with others in need.  I also learned how to be a strong and proud military spouse.  There wasn't anything my grandma couldn't do.  I look to her for advice and pray to her often.  I know that she is taking such good care of Savannah and giving her all the love and support that I would.  She is an amazing woman and I strive to be like her.

I love her and miss her so much but I find so much comfort knowing that she is taking such good care of Savannah for me until my time comes.  She was one of the most outstanding women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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