vicarious love

A couple of Sundays ago, as I walked to church, I arrived at the same time as the family who live across the street from us—a husband, wife, and two young daughters. My first response at seeing them was sadness, sadness for the husband’s mother, who was my friend until her early death to cancer a short while ago. I felt sad because she doesn’t get to watch her beloved granddaughters grow to womanhood—and here I am with a front-row seat. But we accept the loss because that’s how life goes. No guarantees. So I didn’t dwell on the sadness. Instead I will wear Judy’s eyes as I enjoy my occasional granddaughter sightings, a nudge to remember my friend and love her girls in her stead.

I do the same with Rachel, Pete, and John. I will never be their mother. They have a wonderful mother who would still be here to enjoy her kids as lovely adults if she had any choice in the matter. As each one married, I was the one who posed in the pictures as the “mom.” That’s how it works, and everyone was okay with that. And now that babies are coming, I’m the one who fills the role as grandma (Gus). And everyone is okay with that. They all accept how life goes. But as I bounce those babies on my lap and show them my love, I enjoy it for both of us——myself and Margaret-Rose.


This morning as John and Erin dedicated baby Sage Charlotte-Rose to the Lord, I had yet another chance to see through Margaret-Rose’s eyes. Nothing we do can change what is—her absence will always be felt. But I can drink in events like this morning’s, as I sat beside her mother on a front-row seat. She didn’t want to miss any part of these years, so I’ll love on her kids and grandkids with all of my heart. Not with sadness, no, no. With great joy.


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8 Responses to vicarious love

  1. Paula says:

    Okay, I’m seriously bawling right now. My own memories go back to a three-year-old John sitting in the same pew that you and Edna sat in this morning (where he fell asleep every Sunday night – back when we still had Sunday evening services and most people went to them). Life in the “village” does indeed go on, through joy and sadness–and sometimes both at the exact same time.
    Thanks for sharing, Sherry!

  2. Cheri says:

    This is a lovely post. I had a grandmother who was not my mom’s mother. Her name was Hazel and she loved me very much. She made Mountain Bar cookies (no-bakes), taught me how to play Nertz and made me a dress that I wish I had kept. She was a true gift to our family.

    At Sage’s dedication this morning I thought ahead to us celebrating her Senior Salute!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Sherry, I think many can identify. I was thinking of my brother who was taken by cancer, as I enjoyed his first grandchild this weekend at a Bishop family gathering. At 10 months, she is just 6 days older than my newest grandbaby who took her naps in my arms over the weekend.

  4. Craig MacDonald says:

    Thank you.

  5. Millie and Dave says:

    What special thoughts. We can identify having attended the funeral of Dave’s uncle this past Friday in Flint. Their precious grandsons were viewing Grandpa and had made several trips up to look at him. They had been cared for three days a week by this Grandpa and Grandma since they were babies. Both grandparents suffered strokes in the last 6 months. The Grandma is in a nonresponsive state and I wonder what goes through their little minds.

    We drove to Flint singing along with you and Mauri, we just enjoy hearing the two of you so much. How wonderful that you can make such beautiful music together. I am sure it brings as much joy to others as it does to us.

  6. Leane says:

    Thanks for sharing again, Sherry. Through life we all have opportunities to be someone else’s mom or grandmother. We are so glad to have you be part of our family, but there are tender moments of sweet remembrance as well. Give all the babies and kids extra hugs from the Idaho family. Janet was reading this post today and she told me not to miss is. I’m “cleaning up” my desk this afternoon and ran across the baby announcement from Kennady Sunday. How could a year have passed so quickly? Congratulations, John and Erin, on having such a sweet baby as Sage! They are truly God’s gift to all of us.

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you dear friend, I will copy and keep this. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without you!

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