I have had something on my mind for two days. It keeps me awake going back and forth over the details and wondering just what it was that brought this thought to mind.
It finally came to me……what was said….what started the mind rolling.
I had picked up my nephew one day this week and he blurted out ‘ today was the day, grandma Gail died!'
Has this happened to you before?
Just the mention of Gail started a burst of memories from many years past.
My memories begin when my nephew was 6 months old.
There was a rumor going around the family, my brothers' son had a son and just recently did a DNA test to prove the boy was his own.
We were introduced to Deven (six months old at the time) at a Christmas dinner at my youngest sisters house.
I carried that baby all afternoon. I have no idea why that happened but it did. I am not one who cares for babies. They have to be 3 or 4 years old before I start paying attention to children.
A few years passed, the family gossip continued about this new baby but it was much later before I saw him again.
In 2007, I got my divorce, sold our home in the country and I bought a home of my own just outside of a college town. It was the perfect location. It was 5 miles to work to the North and 5 miles to classes at college to the South.
I may have lived in my new place a few months before my brother realized I had moved in the same cul-da-sac as my little nephews maternal grandparents.
Grandpa Wayne and grandma Gail lived three houses over…..you just crossed the street and walked right into their yard.
My nephew was 4 years old at this time.
I started seeing him quite a bit since his mom left him at his grandparents several days a week.
I was still working and going to class three days a week so I didn't have much time for getting real acquainted with the little guy.
I retired in 2012 and finished classes about the same time. I had a part time caregiver job for the next two years.
During this time, grandpa Wayne, grandma Gail and I got to be good friends and went out to dinner two or three times a week and sometimes we took the boy Deven with us.
He had a hard time trying to figure out why I was his Aunt Bettyboop. We talked about it several times before he caught on. His daddy (my nephew) wasn't a steady force in his life. I hated seeing the disappointment in his face when daddy Monty didn't come by to see him for weeks at a time.
In December 2013, Devens' mother passed away. She was only 39 years old. Deven was 10.
Grandma Gail was having a really hard time after her daughters' passing. She just didn't want that little boy at her house at the time. He was all ‘boy' and a handful for her to handle in her depressed state.
I had Deven spend weekends at my house to relieve Gail of the stress. He loved staying with me. His Aunt Erica (his moms' sister) took Deven in. She just got married at 19, just had a new baby when her sister passed away but she and her new husband took custody of Deven.
It was hard on everyone.
Again, Deven was left at his grandparents house on many weekends, therefore, he spent many weekends at my house.
He was afraid to sleep in his own room at my house so he slept on a blanket on the floor next to my bed. (I thought it was so cute!)
It wasn't all fun and games. I imagine he was a very messed up young boy losing his mom at the age of 10 and never really having his dad around.
In June 2015, grandma Gail passed after a long down hill fall of depression. She lost her mother, daughter, and brother, she just never came out of it. She lost over 100 lbs. She refused to eat, or take her pills. We were taking her to the ER seven times the year before she died.
After Gail passed, I sold my house and moved to my moms' to take care of her. My brother had lived with mom for 20 plus years but he passed in 2016 from cancer.
My nephew and his aunt and (aunts' second husband) moved to a town 20 minutes from moms.
I thought that would be the end of us. New lives, new friends….I would be forgotten.
My nephew still calls several times a week. We have lunch at least one day a week after he gets out of school. He is now 14.
There are no overnighters, although, he wants to stay with mom and I all the time.
I don't think mom could deal with him any better than grandma Gail could.
At 14, he has many issues, time will only tell if he makes it through school (I don't think so) or if he stays out of trouble (again I am afraid he will end up in jail)
Now……after thinking back at all these memories…….I am also a believer in the ‘universe' and how we are all connected.
I was connected to a little six month old boy and from that connection we came back together again when he was four, then 10 and now…..who knows how long he'll want his ole Aunt Bettyboop around.
Someday, I will tell him the story about the universe and how the universe kept bringing us together. He is a very sensitive kid, I think he'll appreciate the connection.
Now I have got this all down on paper, maybe tonight, I'll get some good sound sleep!
Elizabth A. Anderson