PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Family Memories

This letter is from Gregory's niece, Michelle, oldest daughter of his brother Alan (RIP.) Alan and his family are known as the "Southwest Maires" because he and Dellaura, his first wife and long time love and the mother of his children all live in that part of the U.S.
Alan and his wife Iris, his soul mate and "Annie Oakley," and all of the children and grand children continue to live in that part of the country.

• • •

My dearest Michael,

I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to write you to let you know how sorry I'm for your loss. I know this has been bitter sweet for you. He hadn't been your Gregory in so long but it is always such a shock when it happens. 

I still can't believe he's gone. Ed and Renee called to let us know at the same time. It didn't hit me until I called Sarah to tell her. Then I lost it. I started telling her things for which I loved him so much, and the more I talked the more I cried. Poor Sarah. Even long distance she got a wet shoulder.

I am not very good at Facebook. So I thought I would wait a little bit to write you. I knew you were probably a little overwhelmed by everything at first. Not really being able to keep up with all the love you were shown by friends and loved ones from all over. Iris said the two of you had a nice visit. I'm sure your home was bursting at the seams for your open house for Greg. Wouldn't he of loved that. 

I know I have said this before but I will tell you once again how much he meant to me even though down through the years we didn't communicate very often. Years and distance tend to get in the way as much as we mean to keep connected. I guess I need to get better at social media. 

Greg was the big brother I always wished I had. I thought he walked on water when I was a kid. I remember laying in the school house in Vermont listening to him playing the guitar, he would let me sit on his lap to go down the waterfall because I was so scared. Listening to him play the piano in the house in Orange. 

He always treated me like I was his age, not a little kid nine years younger. He gave me my first Beatles album, which I am still addicted to much to Mark's distress. Lol. He took me to New Haven to walk around Yale. 

He and Barbara would have me come spend part of Christmas break with them in Boston. He even met my bus when our high school trip took us up there, so I could spend the day with him. He always made me feel special. He would take the time to talk to me and really listen, what I thought mattered.

Do you remember the stone blocks and the wooden circus that was at Grandma's in Orange. He would sit on the floor and play with us with those for hours. Hey, my name is because of Greg. I was born early and they were going to call me Stephen Daniel until Greg who was taking French suggested Michelle. Thank goodness. 

I remembered I felt so proud of him one time when we lived in Milford. He had gone to a peace rally. I was in 6th grade and didn't really understand why Grandpa and Dad were putting him down. It got a little loud as usual. But he very calmly stated his case and then came out and played cards with us. I felt like it was important to him.

When Grandpa and Grandma moved to Brentwood I got to Know Greg through Grandma's eyes. She shared the stories that he wrote with me. I remember one was about Grandma Carrie towards the end of her life. He helped Grandma design the crazy quilt. She would ask me to help with it when we would come over for dinner. 

When the girls were young the three of us went to visit them and spent the night before we went to Elkhart. Greg took the kids to the zoo. They have always remember ed that trip. Greg wanted to go to the fabric store to get a piece of material for a back to a pillow Helen had made. I offered to drive. 

We got to the store and I embarrassed myself by admitting that I didn't know how to parallel park. He very calmly said to switch drivers so he could park it for me. A long of car very patiently waited while he parked it. I'm sure some were laughing, no one honked. He never mentioned it because I'm sure he realized how silly I felt. 

You and I went for a walk and you bought me a blue glass coffee cup. I have been collecting blue glass ever since. 
You and Uncle Greg always called us on our anniversary. For years and years. Even though it is hard to catch up like that only every once in a while, I still knew he loved us and cared.

The last two times I saw him was at funerals. Grandpa's, he had the flu when grandma died didn't he? And when you all came to Goshen for Grandma Marvel's. That was so loving of all you to do that. It would of been miserable to just be us. But you all came and brought laughter and love into the room. So the last time I saw him was getting into that little sports car with you. You were going to go on vacation somewhere and he was so excited. That's the way I want to remember him.

You had forty years of wonderful memories of him.  I know this has Been hard on all of you. I am glad that I was spared watching him go down hill. That would of been extremely difficult. It was always bitter sweet when you  would send your updates. We knew this day would come and we didn't want it to drag out for your sake. But that doesn't make it easier.

I am not very good at expressing myself especially in emails. Mom says I just ramble. But, I wanted to let you how truly sadden I am over a great lose to all of us. I will try to keep in better contact. I have to get to work.

All our love

Michelle and Mark

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