December 11th is a shitty day for me and for an easy reason; Five years ago, my grandmother Meme took a fall down a flight of steps. 13 days later, she was gone, and my family took a shot to the kidneys of its foundation.
Henrietta “Meme” Bulus was as loving of a person as you could get. She wanted to know everything about you inside five minutes, even if she had only met you a minute ago. She wasn’t writing a book, but simply keeping tabs on you for good reason. She would grab your forearm, pull you in close, and focus 105 percent of her attention on you. It was if Barbara Walters was taking place right in front of you right at this very minute.
It reminds of a timeless message. A piece of advice if you will. Don’t forget about your grandparents. Life moves quick, and rarely slows down to allow you to check and update your planner. Phone calls are simple easy ways to stay in touch, but paying them a visit is an entirely different world of devotion. You show up, and it’s like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts walked into the room in the form of their grandchild. 15-30 minutes. Perhaps an hour.
I didn’t call Meme enough. I don’t call my one living grandparent, Stella aka “Nana”, enough. I’m not a perfect grandchild in that respect. I wish I had called Meme more. The future is known as a wonderful thing, but the mystery inside of it can potentially hurt. You never see what’s coming, and that’s the horror and shock of life. The reality that it can end at any point and without notice.
The past three years have been a whirlwind experience for my family and I. We took a big gamble in uprooting our family to improve our financial state, and made it back home to St. Louis happier than ever. It hasn’t been easy, and that is where Meme and Nana carried a signature touch. Grandparents can instantly tell what’s wrong with you and assess the damage based on their experience. More likely than not, your grandparents have experienced a World War and have seen plenty of things given to them and taken away. They are a wealth of knowledge that we often don’t use properly.
I miss my grandfathers like no other. My mom’s dad, Larry aka Pepe, supplied the writing gene in my mind at an early age. Seeing his newspaper clippings about hunting and fishing gave me that hunger. Louis, my dad’s old man or Papa, gave me a love for music and the Cardinals. He would pace back and forth on his front porch after a terrible loss at Busch and could play and sing Frank Sinatra at will. Kids are like computers at an early age. We download everything and discard the scraps later. I downloaded a love for Cardinals baseball, music, and respect from my grandfathers. It hasn’t left yet. It stuck.
I wish Larry and Louis could have met my son Vincent. Louis would have gotten a huge kick out of an Italian prodigy who liked bread and the movies. Larry would have taken him fishing before he could walk. It’s not fair to wish that your family could stick around forever, but I don’t give a shit. I miss them.
Meme got to see Vinny, albeit a sick and and fighting for his life lil two month old, before she passed away. She got to hold a tiny football like human in her grasp. The look in her eyes was evanescent and majestic. She saw a future that she wouldn’t be around for, but trusted nonetheless.
My dad’s stepmom, Mama, was a treasure. I would go to see her and Louis and drink as many cokes and eat as much candy as I could. I’d spend the night and want to stay another day. Mama is gone, and I still remember hanging out over at her home off Chippewa.
Nana loves being around Vinny. He has too much energy for her(and most people), but she gets a kick out of it. I see a need in her to see him as much as she can. It’s my job to make that meeting happen. I need to be better.
We all need to be better about seeing and talking to our grandparents. Before we know it, they will be gone. Forever. Their legacy and love will stick around, but the warmth and passion that could sit right next to our bodies is gone. Death is a bastard.
The last thing Meme told me is something I’ll never forget. She left me a voicemail, and told me the Cardinals would be okay without Albert Pujols. She knew I was upset(I was only a fan back then), and wanted to make sure I was okay.
That is what grandparents do. They care more than anyone in your life, even your parents. Don’t forget about them this holiday season.
Thanks for reading.