Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Hint Of Light

I made it through Thanksgiving with just a few fleeting moments of sadness.  I sat in the dining room, swirling a glass of wine, and thought of Thanksgivings from the past.  Trying to remember a Thanksgiving with my mother.  Funny enough, I couldn't.  I have several memories burned into my brain but not a single one of them contain my mother.  My grandmother is the only person I can recollect from those times.  Her in the kitchen at dawn, already starting on the cooking for the large group of people she was expecting later in the day.  Her homemade bread dough laying underneath damp dish towels, rising, telling me to hurry up and close the back door as to not let the cold air in the warm humid room.  Her rushing at the last minute to take time for herself to get ready before every one walked in the door.  The house spotless, smelling like roasted turkey and every pie you can possibly imagine.  The day before she and I would clean the house and while she made the next days desserts I would polish the dining room table and chairs.  Her mother's antique table cloth, ironed and beautiful, was the final touch.  The day after Thanksgiving wasn't for shopping in my family, it was for pulling out the Christmas decorations.  For three days her and I would put up the 9 foot tall tree, decorate the house from top to bottom, and my grandfather would do every thing in his power to put as many Christmas lights on the outside of the house as humanly possible.

Thanksgiving for me isn't about family or even giving thanks.  For me it was about that time I spent in the kitchen with my grandmother.  Watching her move effortlessly around the kitchen.  Never once pulling out a cook book but remembering how to make a dozen different dishes from memory.  The warmth of the kitchen from the oven having been on constantly since the day before.  Her and I talking about everything and her trying to instill in me some sort of culinary skill that I really never retained.

This Thanksgiving I thought of her, and I was sad for her.  Not because I wasn't there with her on that day but because I knew that her mind was filled with her own memories and her own sadness.  I was sad because I could feel her grief from 500 miles away.  

She told me this week that come hell or high water she was planning to move in December.  I figured that would put us in Missouri right around Christmas time, to help her finish packing, and to help her move.  Getting her moved and settled will be the last major hurdle to overcome.  Of the two hurdles already jumped this should be the easiest one.  Easier than deciding to turn off the machines and easier than burying.  As Thomas said to me, "This is a light at the end of the tunnel."  He's right, it is.  The physical portion of this death is finally coming to a close, but it's the emotional part that I'm almost certain I haven't sprinted past yet.  Keeping my brain and my body occupied with other things can only help me for so long.  At some point I'm going to have to grieve and then let go.  

A part of me thinks my grandmother chose to move in December to keep herself occupied as well.  Stay busy with other things so as to "forget" that Christmas is upon us.  A holiday that to me does mean family.  A holiday that meant all of us being together in the living room, each opening one gift at a time.  A loud crazy night filled with love.  Those are the memories that make my heart hurt more than I could ever describe.  The memories of how just a few short years ago I took Thomas "home" for Christmas and he was absolutely blown away with how overwhelmingly Christmas-y everything was.  I am so grateful for that.  So very grateful for that particular night to be so alive in my mind.  The night I cried with laughter and cried with happiness.  For the diamond stud earrings Thomas gave me that I had been wanting for so long.  For the ring my mom surprised me with.  The ring my father had given her when he asked her to marry him.  And mostly because she finally believed it was time for me to have it.  I had become enough of a "grown-up" to have it and as I cried she cried and she hugged me and told me she loved me.  In my heart I know there will never be another Christmas like one. It can't be recreated.  But there will be other Christmas', full of love and family and new traditions.  I will always think of her though.  I will always remember the look on her face, the look of pure joy, when she saw my surprise at receiving the ring.  She was so happy.

One holiday down, one more to go.  This year all I want for Christmas is for it to be over with.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I 100% accept every emotion I have felt in the last two months. I bring it on myself. For the worry, the anxiety, the everything-is-out-my-control psycho mental moments. I stepped up to the task of "handling" what needed to be handled. Because truly, who else was going to step up to that daunting task? Nobody, that's who. Whether it be lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or lack of giving of a shit there was no one else to take over and be The One In Control. I'm amazed that I've been able to accomplish what I have based on the fact that I know fuck all.

I have no one else to blame. Not a single soul. Could more people step up and play a stronger role in taking the million pounds of burden off of my shoulders? Sure, they could but I don't blame them for not doing it. Not their responsibility. And that is what gets me in the end. When did this become MY responsibility? Was it because she birthed me 30 years ago and attempted to raise me? I guess it is. Or was it because I made it my responsibility because I didn't want that burden on the shoulders of the people that I love, even though it hurts me every single day?
Not a day goes by that I don't think about it. Sure, there are plenty of days when I don't think about the entire ins and outs of the situation. Days when I refuse to acknowledge that there is still so much left to do, left to pay out, left to wonder about. Then the days that I do choose to face reality and the thirty seconds of "what ifs" run through my head so fast it makes me dizzy I am left with anxiety and a lump in my throat.

I hate her. I love her. I'm relieved. I miss her. I am angry. I am sad.

These emotions are present and they change constantly. One for the other, one no better or no worse than the other because they all equal pain.

I've realized that I have been avoiding having conversations or exchanging emails with my grandmother. It never brings good news and knowing that she is in full depression yet refuses to do anything about it pains me even more. I know she is hurting. Hurting more than any of us can know or can imagine. But what she doesn't know is that she is hurting me in return. I am the sounding board, I am the one she knows she can talk to and pour her emotions out to without judgement. Every therapist needs a therapist though. A person can only contain so much sadness before they themselves are brought down. So instead of telling her that I need more positivity in my life I don't talk to her much anymore. Besides, what is there to talk about? The weather? Yea, I know it's cold there. The news? It's all crap anyways. My mom? All we do is end up saying the same things over and over again. We get absolutely nowhere.

Until she starts making some major decisions I will worry. And for a person who isn't good at worrying so I never really did it, it's chipping away my soul. Day by day it eats a little part of me away. The old me who didn't worry, the old me who wasn't anxious constantly wondering when the next bad thing is going to happen. The new me waits every day and I'm thankful for the good times when Thomas hugs me tight and tells me it will all be okay, when I laugh, when my friends message me just to ask how I'm doing. I am grateful for the good that I'm given. More so than I can ever put into words.