Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A grandma named Cille

Growing up, my mom's mom was known to us grandkids as Cille. (Her real name is Lucille). She totally refused to be called grandma or anything along those lines. I respected that about her, when I was old enough to recognize what it was all about, of course. Nonetheless, Cille was a big part of my life. True, her name made greeting card shopping a little difficult (no grandma's!), but it also made her even more special.

Today, Cille's having a rough time of it. It seems she went from a little weak and confused to really sick, really helpless, really fast. I'm struggling with a lot of emotions and finding the right words to express them. It's hard watching my mom watch her mom slip away. It's hard to grasp that while I'm bringing a new life into this world, it seems another is leaving us.

I remember when I found out we were pregnant, Cille would always remember that. At a time when she didn't even always know all of her own children, she knew me and she knew my baby. I'd call Mom, she'd put me on speaker and Cille would immediately ask about the baby. The last time I went to visit, she knew I was pregnant (it's super obvious), but I don't think she knew who I was, or who this baby was, or who any of us were really.

Whenever I think, "Wow, how scary for her. How sad. How heartbreaking," I think about my mom and my aunts and uncles. How are they coping with this? When I feel the nudges and rolls from Asher, I realize that as sad as this makes me - I don't know that feeling of being a parent just yet. I bet that just magnifies the emotions floating around in their hearts. And that saddens me more still.

So, I choose to remember the positive. I choose to remember the Cille that would fuss at us for making such a fuss over her. I choose to remember the Cille that labeled every darn item in the house and would go off on a rant if the 'middle room' stapler found it's way to the kitchen counter. I picture the Cille that had the hugest of delicious meals waiting for us after church on Sunday. The Cille that let me help her choose what to order from the Schwan's truck and always had root beer pops on hand. The Cille that sat on the deck while we raced the huge wheelbarrow up and down the driveway. The Cille that proudly kept a memory box for each of us growing up. And thanks to her, I have newspaper clippings, old drawings, playbills from homemade performances the cousins and I would put together and menus from our pretend restaurants to share with Asher.

That Cille wouldn't want to see us all sitting around, Googling medical terms until we're cross-eyed, bickering, second guessing each other and the doctors and nurses. I don't think she'd want to hear the sadness in our voices. I think she'd want us to remember her glory days, remember her telling us her love stories with Grandpa Paul, remember her force feeding us all kinds of fruits and veggies at her dining table.

I want to find traditions from her to pass along to Asher and within our home. I want to thank her for instilling the love of cooking in my mom and me - and keep family meals going on Sundays. And I'm doing a fine job of keeping her sweet tooth tendencies going - she'd definitely get a kick out of that. I want to drive out to her home, see the countryside and smile. I want to hike around out there with Rusty and tell stories about my adventures with the Wester boys. I think these are all things Cille would want for me, too. I know that. She may not know it anymore, but I know it.

All of this rambling to say that this is how I'm coping. Well, today anyway. I have this fear of her leaving us right as Asher joins us. I want her to meet him, but then I realize she may not even know who she's meeting. As tears fill my eyes thinking of this, I just need to have faith that God has a plan here. For all of us. I'm thankful for Cille and our memories and our big, loving family.

Please keep Cille, my mom, her siblings and the family in your prayers. It's a tough time and I'm not sure that any of us know just how to cope.

We love you, Cille.


Anonymous said...

Well put Ka! We will all make sure that Asher gets to know our Cille one way or the other! I'm sorry that all that is going on is distracting from Asher's arrival, however once you tell him all about Cille he will totally understand! I would say he should be ready for his first ride in a J-3 before his first Christmas HA!

Dad(aka g-diddy or whatever!)

nick p wester said...

Kira- thanks so much for writing this. I really liked how you talked about traditions that she gave us. I remember fireworks displays, talent shows, and Christmases together. i remember her walking in, seeing us play Nintendo 64 and asking what movie we were watching. I remember Brunswick stew, chicken of the fried sort, and Josh losing $100 at the food lion. I remember trips to the beach, dollar time, and stationwagons. AND THE SCHWANS MAN!!! Fishing poles, inventoried tackle boxes, and boxes of pictures. Thinking about this stuff just makes me happy.

Thinking about her life makes me think of this Chinese proverb:
"One generation plants a tree, the next has the shade".

I feel like that is the greatest gift we can give to each other on this earth.


Megan Lewis said...

I cried the entire time i was reading your blog about Aunt Lucille and im still crying now. I have such wonderful memories of going to visit her with my gma. I remember spendin time with joni over there and we would play upstairs even though i dont think aunt lucille liked that to much. i also loved gettin to eat those chocolate candies called Rolos, which i still love today. Anyway I just wanted to say that I love her very much and she is a truely amazing woman!

Margo via facebook said...

I could write about Cille for hours! She is an unique and charming lady! I remember traveling to FL with her in the blue mini van, with a cooler in the front seat, and having to stop at the bathroom every 30 minutes. There are many, many bathrooms between here and FL! I remember visiting on Sundays and having a fabulous lunch. Then off to the den to receive all the savings of the week, which were located in the labeled clear containers. She would put in the bins all the things that reminded her of each of you during the week. I remember when she had her teeth done, your mom and I went through her closet to find her clothes for the next day. Each item was labeled, attached was a ziploc bag with all of the jewerly to wear with that outfit and a little note telling her what shoes looked great with that outfit. My favorite was 'looks great with my black Mootsie Tootsie shoes."

I remember her fascination with weather! She made us get in the hallway and go down that black screen door into the basement-this happened during a Tupperware party! CRAZY!Remember the good times Kir! She is a fabulous lady and one that carries great memories! It makes me smile just to think of all her! I will continue to pray for each of you during the journey of life.

- Love to you all! Marge D. Sledge

Cheryl said...

Kira, in a special little corner of her heart Cille will always know who you are. She'll always know who your mom is. She may not be able to say it out loud, but a mother and grandmother's heart always knows. She'll know Asher, too. Not in the sense that she knew you while you were growing up, but rather in the sense that part of you will be passed on to him. That would be the part she would love the best (as human nature would have it). So, fear not, she'll know. You hang in there. You're all in our thoughts and prayers. Love to you all.

jan said...

Wow, Kira - I'm not usually very emotional, but I couldn't help but shed a tear as I read your beautiful words! Cille's are special people in our lives! I hope we can build memories for Asher of his "Cillie".

Your family is in our prayers...

Anonymous said...

Wow! tears are flowing as i read the impact that Cille has on everyone! Not that i am shocked by any means! :) i cant even begin to explain how many ways Cille has touched my life .. to sum it up i can say she is my SUPER HERO!! You name it, she has survived it! i cant wait to tell Asher all about our Cille; but along with that he will see SOO many of her wonderful qualities displayed in his Grand Ann!! i love you bigger than the universe, Kira!
Thanks for putting all that i have been trying to say into words! I LOVE OUR CILLE!! :)

-Joni Belle

Anonymous said...

Kira, that was truly beautiful and I too could not help but shed several tears as I read it. I kept remembering how we would go over to Cille's house and play so often. I was always amazed by the attic (or upstairs room, or whatever you would call it!). It was like walking into an antique store with all that she had stored away and we would somehow turn it into a store or something to play in. I, too, am going through the same struggles with my Pappaw that hardly knows who I am most days, so I can relate to what you are going through. All of you are in my prayers everyday and I wish you the best as you bring baby Asher into this world! He will be truly blessed! Thanks for keeping us updated through your blog - I have truly enjoyed following it.

Love you,
Jamie (Howard) Price

Lindsay Onofrio said...

I follow you!!

Anonymous said...

Your words are is Cille. She gives great hugs I remember...even to those who don't know her well. It's been years, but she is still on my mind. When I visit L-burg, sometimes I still honk at your family's house as I drive by...just like I used to. My prayers are with you and your family.

Sandy Straw

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