The broken circle

Life’s circle

And The Legal Genealogist‘s word for today is


The real kind.

babyThe two arms, two legs, two eyes, one amazing set of lungs, and wet at both ends kind.

The kind that will astonish and amaze us… once she decides to get here.

Not too soon, of course. She’s not due for another two months — Valentine’s Day 2014. But soon enough for her first time parents — who are at one and the same time a bit excited and a bit frightened by this impending change in their lives.

She will be the youngest member of my extended family, for at least a day or two until upstaged by another. (We’re at that dizzingly wonderful stage of a family’s existence when babies are being hatched at an astounding rate and there is another in her generation due very soon after we expect to welcome this little one.)

And today, in Virginia, we gather to share our joy with the mother-and-baby-to-be. A baby shower, full of all the fun and delight that only a baby shower can bring.

A gathering of the family with all the smiles and hugs and pink ribbons and bows that only the promise of a new baby garners. A gathering that reminds us of life’s circle.

Her grandmother-to-be is my first cousin Susan, her mother-to-be my first cousin once removed Patricia, and she will be my latest first cousin twice removed. (I don’t know exactly how many of them I have — a lot, I know!)

She will be loved. She will be treasured. She will make us smile even when she makes us cry. We absolutely can’t wait to meet her.

And at some time during the day we will all turn to each other and, very quietly, so as not to spoil even a moment of the day, we will say, “I wish Marianne was here to see this.”

Marianne was my mother’s younger sister. Susan’s mother. Patricia’s grandmother. This new baby’s great grandmother. And when any of Patricia’s cousins would ask her if she was their great aunt, her constant reply was: “No, darlin’, I’m your greatest aunt.”

She would have been the greatest great grandmother.

We all understand and accept that no-one lives forever. But Marianne would have only been 77 years old this year, had we not lost her six years ago.

Lost her in 2007 to those damned cigarettes that took so many of her generation — and the one before — and the one after.

She should have been here today to see this.

And we can only pray that those damned cigarettes never take another one from us… and from the little girl whose coming brings us together today.

Enough with the broken circles.

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10 Responses to The broken circle

  1. Shelley says:

    Loved this and especially “those damn cigarettes”! If she only could be here to see the days ahead. Lost my dad to his damn cig’s and alcohol in 97′. He missed my wedding and my graduations!

  2. Pat Richley-Erickson says:

    Oh. What tender thoughts. In a similar manner we think of lost great-grandparents when visiting the old summertime haunts like Orcas island, saying things like “dad loved this place” and “remember the time…?”

    How bittersweet.

    I think the joy of the new little ones help us “recover” so to speak.

    But there are still those moments when quietly a tear will fall.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      The wonder and joy of the new babies does ease the pain, Pat, but oh… Marianne would have so adored being a great grandmother. We all missed her smile today.

  3. charmaine riley holley says:

    This brought back memories of when I was fourteen and my cousin (nine at the time) found out on the day my mother’s younger sister was buried (died of lung cancer at the age of 28) that the woman she though was an aunt was actually her mother. They missed a whole lifetime together.

  4. Paula Williams says:

    > those damned cigarettes <

    Another "w.p." moment.. – there's a small set of (not yet scanned) letters in my latest acquisition. The only one I peeked at before swearing to wait until after my obligations was from Leva to Bobbi. Inside was a clipping from a Dear Abby column. The writer started, "Dear Abby: I commend you for devoting an entire column to the dangers of smoking. It was a noble effort, but those who need it won't listen."


  5. Those damn cigarettes have taken far too many. As kids we would always tell my maternal grandmother that she needed to quit or she would die from lung cancer. Her reply was always the same, “Honey, I have to die some way.” In 2009 in the last days of her life, she told me that if she knew how painful a death lung cancer would be, she would have quit a long time ago.

    There are so many things that I have wanted to call her for since 2009 and unfortunately, I cannot. I know we have someone special on the other side looking over us.

    Congratulations on the new baby (or babies) in the family. I am sure that you and the family will share many stories with the little ones as they grow to share with them stories about their great grandmother.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      We’re all going to try to bridge the gap, Terri — but there isn’t anything to take the place of the smile that was missing today. Darn it all…

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