Song of the Wild Goose

I don't claim to be a mind-reader.

As such, the following is just based on a true story.

Note: The term Chillisquaque in the post below is pronounced "Chill-ih-squaw-gey."

____________________________________________________

I never thought it would be like this.

The tall and slender woman with a weathered face thought as she stood on her raised front porch taking deliberate sips from a mug.

Printed on the side of the mug was "Grandma."

Steam from the coffee floated in front of the woman's eyes as she listened to nearby geese verbally greet the sunrise with their unmistakable chorus.

She continued her thoughts.

What does the local tribe call the geese singing?

Hmmm...

...Chillisquaque?

Meaning "Song of the Wild Goose" or something like that?

Yes, beautiful.

Across the street and past several reflective lawns thanks to the morning dew, she can see the white marble headstone.

She had just planted flowers in front of her husband Tom's resting place.

To the side of Tom's grave, was a single American flag and a metal marker that signified his service in the Vietnam War.

Tom, I hope you can see how fast your grandkids are growing.

She missed her husband, but was relieved that his suffering had recently ended after a long battle with kidney disease.

She took another sip of coffee and this time noticed the "Grandma..." label.

Grandma huh?

She shook her head.

The woman never much felt like a grandmother.

Practically, she was the only "mom" that the sleeping nine-year-old granddaughter and six-year-old grandson had ever known.

Years of substance abuse had rendered their birth mother incapable of caring for the two children, and they have been living with "grandmother" for years now.

A recent court proceeding had changed her title from "grandma" to "custodial guardian" or acting mom, but the kids would not notice the difference.

She was the one who loved them and cared for their daily needs.

Even though this was grandma's second time around--having raised four children already.

The geese sang again.

Chillisquaque.

And, good morning to you my friends, she whispered.

She took one last glance at Tom's grave, smiled, and entered the soon-to-be-bustling home.

A full day of school and after-school activities awaited this acting mom/grandma, and she was ready to help these children excel.

25 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

This story can resonate with a lot of people these days. My son and daughter have a lot of friends living with grandparents.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

This is lovely. I enjoyed reading it.

Lisa said...

This is beautiful. Poignant and a little sad, but beautiful.

Matthew MacNish said...

My nephew is cared for half by us and half by his grandmother. Substance abuse isn't what took his mother from him, but the results are basically the same.

Dawn said...

I loved this. It brought emotions and memories back I had forgotten about- for many reasons.
Lovely story.

Brian Miller said...

i read a rather interesting statistic...85% of 2011 graduates returned home to live...side note i know but...]


i am glad that she was there for them...many of the kids i work with would love to have a gramma to care for them as opposed to going to strangers....

Diane said...

My aunt now has her 45 year old son living with her full time and her grandson there part time. Even though it is different, I am glad we are returning to family duty more and more. :O)

ladyfi said...

Very touching. And a reality for many many grandparents around the world.

A Doc 2 Be said...

I am not a substance abuser but my job took me away from home quite often... my parents, Thank God!, stepped in and helped raise my son.

It took the entire village for him to be the amazing kid that he is. I may have birthed him but the three of us raised him.

Kudos to grandparents all over!

Amy Sullivan said...

I teach, and I am astounded at how many grandparents are raising children today.

I often wonder if the number of grandparents as custodial parents has increased or if I just notice it more now.

Ed Pilolla said...

drugs and alcohol ravage so many beautiful people in our society, and it is a societal problem, created by society and culture, but the burden falls on families. lovely post, with a lot of meaning.

The Blonde Duck said...

Gorgeous!

WomanHonorThyself said...

aw thank u for this find Slam~!

Diana said...

Although sad, this is a beautiful story. I can't think of a better person than a grandma - unless it's a grandpa - to raise a child if needed. Grandparents are special people... at least that's what my grandkids tell me. ;) Thanks for the always great share, Slam.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

hmmm, your Blog is so interesting, always something new to read and look into. I wonder why this story compelled you today, intriguing. Anyway, I feel that this is the case very frequently, the young mother (or incapable mother) can't raise her children so they are raised by the birth Mom's Mother (or someone to that effect). I'm glad someone is there for the child but you do have to feel for the kids and the elders who now have all the duties required of someone half their age. It has always been my goal to raise a child when I can properly give one care. To that effect, I have always been careful so that the joy of Motherhood rests solely on my shoulders when I'm completely ready to do so.

Sarah Forgrave said...

There are a lot of people in this situation who probably never thought they would be. I admire them for taking on parenting a second time around. It's not an easy gig, is it? :)

Maxi said...

This story touched me in two ways:

My beloved husband of 35yrs. passed away last month. My heart is so broken, but he no longer suffers.

And…

The week-end after David's Memorial Service my granddaughter came to visit for three days.

Jeanette Levellie said...

The fact that this saddens me tells me you're a splendid writer. Were you one of the kids in the story? If so, your grandma did a great job!

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
You have a real gem on your hands with this post!

I concur with all the commenters.
This IS a beautiful story.

G'ma is the type of person this nation was BUILT upon...and sorely needs these days in greater abundance.

Excellent post.

Stay safe out there.

j. littlejohn said...

good story -- and thanks for stopping by my blog

Katie said...

Lovely!

Shauna Nosler said...

That was beautiful. Still I'm not sure if I am pronouncing it correctly :). And this is first time I've commented from my phone so we will see how this works out - Shauna.

terri said...

A very touching story. I'd like to think all grandparents in this position were this accepting and capable. Sadly, not all are and it makes for a difficult life for the kids and adults alike.

jodeeluna said...

Thank God for all of the grandmas raising their grandchildren. This post touched me because so many of my struggling literacy students only have their grandmothers. Beautifully done!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Beautiful, SD! Brought tears to my eyes!