Alpha Madalene Roberts Pratt
10 November 1906 – 14 August 1975
It was a late summer evening in Flint, Michigan, and already dark as Mom and I got in the car for a last minute trip to the store for diapers. It had been a long and exhausting day, and my emotions were extremely fragile. As Mom pulled out onto the very familiar road in front of Gram and Pop’s house, we began to talk about the day’s activities. Suddenly I couldn’t cope with the inevitable, and I began to sob. “But I don’t want her to die. What will we do without her? My children will never know my Gram.” My adored Gram was dying. She was losing her battle against cancer, and her life was quickly slipping away. My sense of loss was overwhelming.
That August of 1975 I was a young mother, just 21 years old. I was delighted to have a darling baby daughter and anxious to show her off to my extended family. Unfortunately, this reunion had come as a result of very difficult circumstances. My Grandmother Pratt was dying of cancer. Knowing that her time was very short, Yvonne and I had taken our new babies – Matthew and Emily – for a visit. We had been to the hospital that day to introduce these newest descendants to their great-grandmother. She was very weak, but had been able to hold each of the babies for a short time. Although she was thrilled at meeting the youngest members of the family, it was probably more important to me for Gram to see my baby, than it was to her. Gram had played a very important part in my life, and my growing up was full of wonderful memories of Gram and Poppie. Because Emily was only three months old, I hadn’t had time to emotionally put my mother in the grandmother role. The grandmother in our family was Gram, and I was devastated to think that my children were going to grow up without her. How would they have special grandparent memories?
Gram died shortly after that trip to Michigan, and none of my children know her except through pictures and occasional references I make to her. But of course, I didn’t need to worry about them not having Gram in their lives. They have grandparents that they love the same way I love my Gram and Pop, and they have cherished memories of those relationships. Additionally, I have become Grandma Lynn to ten – soon to be eleven – delightful grandchildren whom I adore just as Gram adored me, and we have made lots of wonderful memories together. The flow of generations continues to enrich our lives.“If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are.”