My mom had two sets of parents, did you know?
It's a much longer story than I'll write tonight, but here is what you need to know for the story I am going to write tonight:
My mom had a loving father and mother - they were in a car accident and my mom's mother died.
My mom was just 15 months old.
My mom's father remarried - he married his first wife's sister.
Before my mom's mother was killed she said to her sister-in-law "If anything happens to me while we're gone I want you to raise Valerie."
My mom was raised by her aunt and her uncle, and remained close to her family.
It's a beautiful story of love and sacrifice and in the end it resulted in my mom having three loving mothers, and two doting fathers.
The two families lived in the same town and were close to each other and to their friends.
My grandparents had two friends, sisters. I met one of the sisters and grew to love her over the years.
The mother who raised my mom had Alzheimer's in her last years, and stopped speaking. On occasion she would call out one name: Euleda. Euleda was one of the two sisters my grandparents were friends with. Euleda named one of her daughters after my mom's mother who passed away.
That's how close they were.
My grandpas had a mutual friend named Van. Van, my grandparents, and the two sisters all lived in the same town before they were each married, dated each other even, and remained friends their entire lives.
Van eventually married the other of the two sisters: Audrey.
It was shortly after Jason and I got engaged that I wrote this on my blog:
"I imagine this scene in heaven:
One day my grandpa would have said to his brother-in-law (my other grandpa) 'Gayle, what are we going to do with our granddaughter? We have to find a way to help her out. She's old and she needs to get married.' And my grandpas probably would have had no clue how to help me.
After a few minutes of talking about it Van would have joined his two friends.
My Grandpa Gayle - who was very astute - would have noticed that Van looked distraught.
'Van,' he would have asked, 'what troubles you?'
And Van would have said, "I have this grandson that I'm worried about. He has a lovely fireplace and no one to build a fire for.'
And the three grandpas would have sighed...and then in unison they probably would have had a moment of clarity.
Someday I'd like to know how long our three grandpas have been plotting - and I would like to give them all a really big hug."
Van and Audrey, my grandparents' greatest friends, are Jason's grandparents.
And the minute I met Audrey I felt a kinship with her - a connection that went beyond the fact that she was my then fiancee's grandma.
My grandparents were my favorite people - they had my entire heart - and meeting their dear friend put her in the same place in my heart.
Our roots were connected long before Jason and I met.
Today we took Audrey home to the place those roots were first planted, and we laid her to rest next to her husband.
As I stood in that cemetery and thought about my own beloved grandparents who where were laid to rest just a few miles north of Audrey and Van, I felt peace. And in my mind I whispered to all of them that I loved them.
Those seven people - those grandparents we've loved and honored - they've left us a beautiful legacy, and until we meet them again, Jason and I will do all that we can to continue that legacy.