Nobody Left To Ask

Many years ago, after my grandma passed away, each of us grand kids were given “our” ornament from her tree.

OrnamentThis past weekend, as my family and I were decorating our Christmas tree, I pulled the ornament out of the box and told my daughter Maddie how this was Mommy’s favorite ornament because it’s the one I’ve had the longest.  Then, I noticed the inscription: Dana 1978.  “Hmmm, that’s not by birth year,” I thought.

I sent a text to my mom.  “Turns out I’m only 35!” I wrote.  We texted a few times back and forth, and then a few days later, we discussed the mysterious date again.  How did we never notice this before?  Why does is say “1978”?  Did someone engrave my birth year wrong?  Was that possibly the year they gave the ornaments to my grandma?

We asked some of the other grand kids, but many didn’t know where their ornaments where, and those who did know said their ornaments didn’t have an engraved date.  I started to feel the sadness in my heart:

There is nobody left to ask.

My grandma is gone, my Aunt Carole is gone, my Aunt Ginny is gone.  The people who would know, the people who were there so many years ago when those ornaments were given to my grandma, the people who lived that part of our family history… they’re gone.  My mom is the only one left of that group of Buettner women.  The only one left.  There is nobody left to ask.

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17 thoughts on “Nobody Left To Ask

  1. Just by holding the ornament you have the piece of history. Pass on the mystery. I understand that sad feeling when there is no one left to ask. Unfortunately, a fact of life. Maybe a reminder that we need to write down more. I have a box of ornaments that all have stories. Perhaps I should write them someday for my future grandchildren.

  2. It is bittersweet. The love you cherish of your gandma and the loss of not knowing. You remind all of us of the importance of sharing all the story and especially writing it down – so even if we forget the story can still be shared.

    I remember each year after Christmas Mom would go shopping with us and we could pick out one ornament for next year. They were half price. Those memories survived even if the ornaments didn’t.

  3. I guess that is proof why writing our stories is so important. I hope you find the answer you’re searching for. In the meantime, cherish your memories.

  4. Your post is a powerful reminder to write down the stories while we can; yet, there is something powerful in the mystery too. Perhaps, the mystery will lead to wonder and many possible stories….like this one!

  5. The many holiday items and antique furniture I have connect my daughter to our family’s stories and her great grandparents she never knew. That’s a great keepsake for you and your family.

  6. Oh! So sad! But maybe, maybe, maybe and answer will come out of the blue one day. Life is funny that way. (Or maybe I’m just overly optimistic). I always tell kids to hang on to their questions, things aren’t always answered right away. Sometimes it takes years to answer those “I’ve-always-wondered-about-that” questions.

  7. What a sad thing when you know in your heart that so many people are gone from your life and with them, pieces of the history of your family. Many have said this already -but wow! What a powerful reminder to write the stories of our lives.

  8. Oh, Dana! This left me with a pain in my heart (literally) for you. I know that feeling of not having anyone left to ask. When my Aunt Mill passed away in 2008 (the year after my Grandma died), there was no one left to ask anymore. My mom’s generation is the oldest one. That was really tough to swallow. I get it. And I hate to tell you, that realization only gets harder as time goes on.

  9. My mother and I have had this conversation before. It’s terribly sad, but it’s the reality. I often think I have to ask my mother things while I still can, but you can’t always anticipate what you’re going to want to know. But whether or not the mystery gets solved, you have the ornament and all the memories that go along with it to cherish.

  10. Missed my grandmas reading your post…we will see each other again in a place where it is Christmas every day. Sweet writing, Dana! xo

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