When I started Child of the Fort - a couple of years ago - I couldn't tell you exactly what prompted me to do it. Maybe it was a combination of things - the Christmas holidays, being off of work on vacation, my longing for my hometown...I didn't know why...I just felt the need to write. And when I thought about a name for the blog, this is the first one that came to mind. I was literally - a child of my hometown and I'd hoped - an example of the good that Fort Wayne had to offer (from my particular generation).
I've written about people, places, and things. It's amazing that my memories of my childhood are as crisp and clear as they are given the fact that sometimes, I can't even remember what I did three years ago!
SO - why is there a picture of my grandfather's obituary at the top of this posting? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Today is the anniversary of his death. If you were to read over the past couple of anniversary posts about him, you'd see that his absence has left this gaping hole in my heart. This year though, I'm feeling a little differently. While I still miss him, instead of sitting here and sobbing for hours about him (on this anniversary), I am holding myself together quite well.
It's not that I don't miss him (duh - of course I do!). Something for me is different this year.
Earlier this year, I wrote about how angry I had been at God - because of my grandpa's early departure from this earth. I had held on to that anger for over twenty years. Something happened in late 2009 - and miraculously - that anger is gone. I can't explain it. Well, maybe I can't articulate it.
So this anniversary of Grandpa's departure - I actually have a gift for him and so if you'll humor me for a moment....
I have a really awesome surprise for you. First, your last words to me - they have never left me and despite my rebellion and anger - they finally sunk in. But hey, you know that I'm a stubborn girl and that sooner or (much) later, I'd listen to you.
Second, I have renewed my relationship with God and the weird thing is - it feels right and it feels natural.
Third, I joined a church here in the Indy area (and that wasn't easy - had to visit quite a few to find the one that felt like that glove fit). But that's not your gift. Your gift is this. I have committed myself to finally going through with the Sacrament of Confirmation. You know I should have done this years ago, but one thing (parents divorce and our many moves) after another (my anger) kept me from recommitting myself.
I've done all of the research, talked to folks, and I will go through with my Confirmation this year. I have my fingers and toes crossed that I will be allowed to go through this process at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I wrote to Msgr. Robert Schulte and explained the importance of my recommitment taking place there and why it would be like coming full circle for me. I know that wherever it takes place, YOU will be there with me - just as you were there for my Baptism (as my godfather).
I love you with all of my heart and soul. Thank you for...everything...you know I couldn't possibly even begin to write down what I mean by that! xoxoxo
So really, I think I understand now why I started Child of the Fort. Yes, it was (and is) about sharing my memories of growing up in a city that had more character than most will ever have. Yes, it was (and is) about reliving some of the most significant times of my childhood (and that includes the people, places, and things). But really, I think it was about coming to terms with the sadness and anger I felt about the loss of my grandpa. You see - just like Fort Wayne - he is my childhood.
Like Fort Wayne, he was always there and offering up fun, food, and tidbits of information that I soaked in - but didn't always realize the significance of - until many years later. He is gone. The Fort Wayne I grew up with doesn't exist in the same way either. And while both realizations are hard to accept - they are what they are - and I can either be angry or I can feel warm and fuzzy and thankful because really, how many people can look back at their childhood as fondly as I can? While I hope lots can, I know that I am lucky lucky lucky.
So today's post - I guess you can call this a growth moment for me, eh? :)