A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to South Florida to visit my grandparents in Port Charlotte, Florida. I had not seen my grandparents in over a year. Although I was only able to spend about a day and a half with them, I'm so very thankful I visited when I did. Shortly after my visit, my grandmother passed away.
This past week I have had the chance to reflect on some things. I have thought of my childhood and the fond memories I have of it. I have thought about who I am and of which family members I am most like. I have thought about my dad, my brother, my grandpa Frank and my great grandparents and others who are no longer here. I have thought about all the time that has passed me by and how I have wasted it on unimportant issues.
A couple of days ago I had a conversation with my dad's cousin and I realized that I have a lot of family that I don't know. I really don't know where I came from. Sure I know my family, but I really don't know my family history. Family names and countries in which my ancestors came...this is all stuff I should know. This is stuff that I should be able to tell my children about. This is our history, our family history.
So I am making a change. I vow to get to know better the family I already know, to ask questions, write things down, and to reach out to family members that I never knew existed. And if it means going to family reunions, which I have always dreaded, then I will. You become who you are from your family. Get to know them.
Today our family will gather together to say goodbye to one hell of a good woman, my grandmother, Ruth Evelyn Carlson Dockery. What do I know about this woman? I know she was a great cook, she raced cars when she was younger, I'm pretty sure she spent more time in a swimsuit than she did in actual clothing, she loved her beer with ice, she was a very giving person and she knew the meaning of "true love" by being married to the man of her dreams for 62 years. She was an amazing woman. This was my grandma.