This week I had a normal, good memory from childhood. Trust me when I say these are few and far between. Anyway what they say about your senses getting you in touch with your past is so true. Usually my senses are getting me in touch with the repressed part of my past but the memory that surface was not a bad one.
I was in the store when I noticed that raspberries were on sale, they are my favorite, so I bought a bunch. I was barely out to the car before I was popping a box open and eating them. Their warm juicy taste, I hate to use triggered here, I associate it with bad memories, evoked a memory of summer and being at my other grandparents’ house, and running out into the backyard. This grandfather, I’ll call him Abraham, grew all kinds of different fruits in his backyard – gooseberries, rhubarb, cherries, blackberries and my favorite’s raspberries. There is nothing like the taste of raspberries that have been warmed by the sun, picked from the bush and popped in your mouth. With each raspberry I ate came more good memories of Abraham. I realized that I have been spending a lot of time on processing all the bad in my past that I haven’t taken any time to remember the good.
Abraham was a difficult man, who suffered a lot in his life. He took a lot of that suffering and what he was taught as a child out on his children. He was not an easy father; I think this is especially true with my father. My father was the oldest and as any child that is the oldest can tell you, we carry the brunt of our parents’ mistakes. I like to feel that my grandfather tried to make amends to my father near the end of his life. Unfortunately for them both, my father wasn’t ready and my grandfather didn’t have time because he got lung cancer. Unable to reach my father, my grandfather turn his attention to me. For a little girl that had been badly abuse it was a god sent. I got to experience what a grandparent’s love should be. He spent a lot of time with me; he taught me things, like cooking and baking. He gave me my love of John Wayne and he gave me a voice or at least taught me not to be afraid to use mine and speak out. He was proud and loved me and in turn it allow me to feel those feelings for myself. He is the reason I speak out so strongly today. He was the first, and for a long time, the only person that I allowed to get really close to me. But like all good things in my life, it came to an end way too quickly. He died from the lung cancer when I was 13. For him, I have grieved a lot of years. While I will always miss him and wish for him to be with me, I am now able to think of him and his memory without the gut wrenching pain of loss.
Thank you, raspberries, for reminding me of him and the fact that once I had someone that I loved dearly and that loved me and valued me just as much. That is was safe and ok, and I can allow myself to have that again with others.