I have struggled with whether or not to share this, but after much deliberation, I have decided to. I try not to get too personal on here, but today is going to be an exception.
My grandmother passed away early Sunday morning. She has been suffering from Alzheimer's for sometime now. She had a stroke and a heart attack sometime last week and is being laid to rest today.
My sister and I are the only family members unable to attend. Not because we can't, or won't, but because we are not allowed. We have been ostracized from the family for the "poor choices" we have made in our lives.
I'm sure you are wondering what kind of choices a person could make that would cause a family to completely disown them.
The fact that I have 3 children from China is considered a good enough reason. The fact that my sister has a daughter who is bi-racial (half black, half white) is good enough reason.
The obituary for my grandmother said that she is survived by her husband, three children, 6 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. That is all true except there are 11 great grandchildren. My sister's daughter and our Chinese children were left out.
We have not been welcome around them for quite awhile. As a matter of fact the last time my sister spoke to my grandmother was to tell her she had a daughter. At first she was excited, then my sister went on to tell her that her baby's father was black and my grandmother's response was "I will always love you, but I just can't handle that, please don't call again."
I won't go into any specific details, but I always knew growing up how they felt about other races. They were not shy by any means to share their opinions.
I have tried to not let it bother me over the years, but these past few of days have really made me see the reality of it all. I have told myself over and over it is their loss. They don't know what they are missing. I do believe that. But it saddens me knowing that they will not have any memories of their great grandparents. It saddens me to know that my grandparents have missed out on some pretty awesome kids.
When I was little I remember thinking how I wanted to be just like my grandmother when I grew up. She always looked perfect from head to toe. Her hair was done just so, her make-up was flawless. Her outfits were perfectly put together complete with matching shoes. And she always had jewelry on that was given to her by my grandfather. Perfection, or so I thought.
Although she is gone, she will not be forgotten. I will remember the good times I had with her. The times we went shopping together, or the times I would sit in awe at the amount of shoes she had in her closet. I won't forget the time she helped me pick out my first bra. It couldn't be just any bra, it had to have a flower or bow (her words). I won't forget the summers we spent swimming in their pool and hanging out with our cousins. I won't forget the time they came to see me in college for grandparents day which was also the first time she saw Matt for the first time. Or the the time she held my daughter, Emma for the first time. These are just a few of the memories I will remember.
What I won't do is base my life or my decisions on someone elses ignorance. I can't imagine our family without all of our children. The color of their skin does not define who they are.
Love should be unconditional. Love shouldn't come with strings attached. Love shouldn't be based on skin color or the shape of a persons eyes.
I pray that she is at peace and that is finally able to see people for who they are, and not by the color of skin they have. I pray that she is able to see our family, see the love we have for ALL of our kids, and see that what she has missed out on. I pray that she is finally able to see the beauty in ALL people and that someday we will all be able to walk hand in hand.