Gratitude for Memories

“No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.” — Louis L’Amour

This time of year is hard for me – Thanksgiving season when everyone should be feeling gratitude and togetherness.  All I can think about is how much I miss my grandfather.

When I was growing up, my grandfather was a large part of my life.  He was my biggest fan and my biggest critic.  It is because of him that I went to law school and because of him that I excelled in high school and college.  He always encouraged me and supported me … even when my parents were convinced that I was being an idiot.

My Grandpa

My grandfather was a regular guitar player for the Louisiana Hayride.  He served in the U.S. Army as a mechanic at the Berlin Wall in East Germany.   He saw most of the continental United States. He was a church music director, a farmer, an artist, and a family man.  He survived skin cancer.

He wasn’t a fan of the holiday season, but it also seemed to me that he was the king of Thanksgiving.  He would make sure that we had a goose, turkey, or ham for the family dinner/lunch.  He would hold court at the patio table with the children and men until the final food preparations were finished (or sneak into the kitchen for a quick taste of a dish).  He may not have carved the meat every year, but he was the patriarchal figure that held our family together.

In the Spring of 2002, my grandfather passed away in the home that he built, in the home where so many of my best memories started.  I haven’t stopped missing him since  … but I am grateful that he was a part of my life and that he taught me life lessons that will stay with me forever.

Twin to Twin: Emma & Emily

When you dream about having children, you never think about the possible turbulence along the way.  No one mentions the possible infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and rare syndromes that can cause a normal pregnancy to become the stuff of nightmares.  No one mentions how quickly it can go from fine to horrible.

Over the past few days, I have seen the horrible nightmare side of pregnancy.  I have heard the phrase “twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome” a little too much for anyone’s sanity.  Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a rare syndrome that affects identical twins where the blood supply is shared among the twins and the blood is transferred back and forth.  In this syndrome, one twin gets too little blood and one twin gets too much blood.  In the first 24 weeks of gestation particularly, one or both twins may die.  To make matters worse, there is nothing that the parents can do and nothing that can prevent this in the future. 

After a bit of googling, I found a foundation that is devoted to helping those suffer TTTS losses and for advocating for cures for this syndrome. They take donations too.

If I seem to have lost my Christmas spirit, it’s because I’m mourning my would-be nieces, Emma and Emily.  Emma and Emily were still-born on Sunday, December 11 at 22 weeks.  They will never know how much their family loves them.