I grew up in an abundant family. On my mother's side alone, 4 aunts, a mother, and a grandmother. A brother, grandfather, a few uncles and several great aunts and great uncles and a ton of cousins. My aunts were part of my immediate family, they were part of raising me. Growing up in this family of Altevogt's and the maiden Traylor was a blessing. A few changes to the family had happened overtime had happened, some sad and some positive but nothing we couldn't handle.
Between the ages of 15 and 27 one typically doesn't really understand the placement or meaning of what is around them. It is a natural phase of life, one that is experienced during the "finding yourself" moment. Going to college, moving to a new location, getting a job, struggling to make ends meet....yada yada yada. It's natural. You love what you have but you don't fully grasp and understand, yet.
Then it happens, you get it. You cherish every moment that you get to spend with your family and when you look back at those limited times that you visited home your heart is joyous and aching all in one beat. You realize that you never want those moments to change. That is when the lightbulb has gone on. You come to the realization that you understand, you get it.
Finally, I got to that point around the age of 28. After moving multiple times and starting new paths and completing the obstacle courses that were laid before me my light bulb turned on. It was at 28, when things became possible. Taking trips (because now one was at the age were they could used their hard earned funds) to visit those you missed. Solely because you missed spending time with them. Planning to just do things because you should experience it.
Well, it had all just began to come together for that third phase in life. The enjoyment part. Two trips under my belt home. Both short, we were playing catch up. But both very quality. Somehow in a 6 month period, I had managed to make it home twice and got to spend time with extremely important people in my life. However, prior to that I had only been able to complete one trip in a 7 year period. And that was in phase two of my life, so not great quality because it was in the "finding yourself" stage. But the next phase was here and it was great.
Just when I got comfortable parking my mind, body and soul in phase three it fell apart. Starting in November, just 2.5 months after I turned 30 my baby Aunt passed away. The entire family was heartbroken. And heartbreak was exactly what it was. Exactly two and a half months later the apple of my eye, the center of our family, the rock and the peace maker, the one with the best smile and the best heart left us too. Gramma, also known as Mom. Our hearts were no longer just broken, they were stabbed, squashed, twisted, chewed and spit out.
My days will never be the same.
With Angela O'