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Two people I will meet when I get to heaven

Mom was busy finding herself.  A failed 10 year union with shotgun origins, three children, burying one child, alcoholism, enabling tears and ultimatums- her 26 years were wrought with pain.  It was her turn. 

Cue: Grandma and Aunt Sue.  My surrogates.  Proof that there was life beyond hurt, regret and cold cereal for dinner. 

Shopping, vacations, amusement parks, and movies- they single-handedly redeemed my childhood.  They replaced the fear and uncertainty with laughter and joy.  The gratitude I have for them in my life is hard to put into words.   When I was with them, I was in my happy place.  

It was as normal as my life had ever been up till that point.   

It took stranger’s taunts and ridicule for me to notice that they were different. 

Aunt Sue struggled with her weight and morbid obesity.  It didn’t slow her down and didn’t hide her amazing smile and the most perfectly manicured eyebrows on a human- ever.  Her laugh was much like the sound a hyena makes- put gently- it attracted attention.  To me- it was the sound of love and security. 

My grandma had Scoliosis as a child and, as a result, had a large Kyphosis (hunchback).  If it caused discomfort, no one ever knew.  She was as active a person as I’ve ever known.  She walked everywhere.   She did endless hours of charity and volunteer work and all with a sunny disposition.   

They both were positive lights and found the good in everything.  These two selfless people renewed my spirit in humanity and gave my young life hope and the ability to look forward.   But to outsiders and passers by, they were misfits, freaks, something to make fun of.    

I remember the overwhelming feeling  that would stir in me when they were mocked (which was all the time.)  I fought back the ugly tears,  I spewed dirty tsk tsk looks with my pre-teen angsty eyes, glaring thoughts of ”you should be ashamed of yourself” in their direction, I positioned a pouncing for scratching eyes out.

For everything Grandma and Aunt Sue gave me, I felt the need to defend of them.  They were used to it, but the insults and sneers cut into me like a knife.  They had sheltered me from so much pain in my life and I wanted to protect them- insulate them from the ignorance of the world that they had shown me so much beauty in.

Their deaths were both devastating to me.  My grandma’s heart just stopped while she was walking to get a haircut- 35 years - to the day- of her husband’s death.  My Aunt’s discomfort with her obesity eventually took its toll on her, emotionally, and she, ultimately, took her own life.

I think they knew how much they meant to me.  I hope they know that the world, at least my world, was a better place because of them.


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17 comments to Two people I will meet when I get to heaven

  • Maria

    Oh Tena.

    I love the way you tell stories. I love the stark, beautiful honesty of your words.

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]

    Incredible story, Tena. You’re so incredibly fortunate to have been touched & affected by their spirits.

  • ~love

    this is my 1st time here…from maria’s tweet. and she is so right…THIS is what blogging is about to me. life stories. love. knowing what is truly important. this is beautiful and what a great party that will be in heaven someday.

  • Andrea

    What a beautiful post. I am so glad these two amazing women were able to redeem love for you.

  • Diane

    I’m so sorry the world couldn’t appreciate their beauty the way you could. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • Grumble Girl

    Sending you love… thanks for sharing your story. Good words. Good girl.

  • Shauna

    What a beautiful tribute to two very special ladies. They did a good job in raising you, Tena. Sending you love, always.

  • Jo

    What a blessing these two beautiful women were, and continue to be, to you!

  • Jen

    Clearly they were two very special people…evident in how you turned out. Love you girl!

  • ali_rn

    you wrote this so beautifully, it is apparent how much you loved them, and they loved you.

  • megryansmom

    Thanks for sharing your special story. Stopping by to say Good Morning as I visit SSS participants. Have a great day!

  • AmyAmyBoBamey

    Wow Tena, love the way you told that story.

    It is as if I could see them so happy to be with you and enjoying your company as much as you enjoyed theirs.

    What special people they are.

  • [email protected] Challenged

    Tena You are amazing! such honesty!

  • Carri

    Wow how absolutely touching. You Aunt and Grandma sound like amazing people. You were truly blessed to have them in your life. I am sure they know how much they meant to you. I do hope you find them in your afterlife and get to let them know everything you neevr got to say before.

  • pixielation

    This is a beautiful blog post. Your Aunt Sue sounded like one of my aunts, and it made me think about her in a really happy way. I really enjoyed finding your blog.

  • Crystal

    They know!! What a truly special meeting one day you wonderful ladies will have. You are a living tribute to the love of these two beautiful women.

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