Guest Post by Older Sister
One of the greatest joys—I’ve been told—is being able to get to know your grandchildren. It’s been described to me as a different experience from having children of your own and in its way even richer and more fulfilling. Grandparents joke all the time about getting to have all the joys of parenting with their grandkids, and none of the work. I haven’t had that experience, but I would imagine it’s a trip watching your kids have kids.
Norma never got to meet her any of her four grandchildren.
I’m Norma’s oldest daughter and my kids are her oldest and third oldest grandchildren. When my oldest was born, it was two weeks before what would have been Norma’s 50th birthday, and she had already been gone two years. We joked at the time that my oldest kid was Norma reincarnate. They’re both Scorpios. And interestingly, Norma still lives on through my oldest in many ways. They’re both athletes and artists. Both have that Scorpio way of not being afraid to ask hard questions of the world. A stubborn streak. Both brave.
My kids ask about who their grandma Norma was. And I tell them stories all the time about the ways that they’re similar.
And while it’s gratifying to witness all the ways that Norma lives on in her grandchildren, there’s something heartbreaking in the knowledge they she will never know them and that—outside the stories we tell–they will never know her. A link to their identity that’s been broken. I know me and my kids feel that broken link. And we try to fill that gap with wondering. Wondering what it would have been like for them to know each other. How would they be—would they be close? Would she have a favorite?
I think Norma would have really taken to her grandchildren. All four of them. I think she would have delighted in them in ways she couldn’t with her own children. I think she would have taken to her kids’ spouses as well.
I wish she could have known them.
And while I will always mourn that loss for my kids and Norma, there is a balm in hearing the members of Norma’s family remark: “Es lo mismo que la Norma!” whenever they catch a gesture or a look or a resemblance on one of Norma’s grandkids that reminds them of her.
So thanks to the memories we all have of Norma, she is present in them.