and a few steps back

Today is a typical March day in Portland.  It's raining, not a downpour but rather a quiet drumming on my aluminum window shades.  The sky is grey, but not oppressively so.  And though the thermometer reads a balmy 52 degrees (considerably warmer than last week) I can still feel a slight chill in the air.  All in all it's a great day to listen to Adele with a nice mug of Lady Grey tea.

[Side note: how much do I love "One and Only?" I could listen to that song on repeat for days.]

I've been thinking a lot about my grandma today.  No.  I've been thinking about the weeks leading up to her death.  I'm sure the death of a family friend is the trigger for all of this contemplation, but there it is.  I can't get it off my mind. When I think of those weeks, they have a faded fuzzy feeling to them.  A vintage sheen.  It's like I'm digging up memories that have been buried for decades, like it all happened years ago instead of two months.  Grief is funny like that.

I wish I had a copy of the grief wheel that the hospice nurse brought us the morning after my grandma passed.  The wheel was more fluid than the "stages" that are proposed by the Kubler-Ross Model.  I know there is no "timeline" for healing, but the sense of loss and grief I feel today is staggering.  Most days I'm okay, most days I'm unfazed,  but there are moments when all of it smacks me in the face.  Like when I almost started crying when getting report at work on Tuesday.  The way I could barely read a letter from my great-aunt because her handwriting is so similar to my grandmother's.  The way I cried for 20 minutes when I found a rosary on my bedroom floor this morning.

I don't remember having such a hard time after my grandfather died.  But then, the circumstances were different.  I didn't witness his decline and death.  I didn't provide day to day care for him the way I did my grandma.  There was no disruption of my life.  There just was an uneasy Tuesday, and then a heartbreaking phone call when I was studying in the library.  A week of classes to get through before his funeral.  It's so perfectly clear.  I remember it all.


I have a picture of my grandparents on my refrigerator, so I encounter their smiling faces each and every day.  The photo is a snapshot from their wedding day, and it manages to perfectly capture the giddy happiness I imagine they were feeling.

May 8, 1954
I thieved this picture from the hundreds in my grandmother's collection.  I really should have asked before I took it, but I guess I just wanted to remind myself of happier times.  A photo to prove that my grandparents were once impossibly young and incredibly happy.  A photo to show the very beginning of a life together that would yield 8 children, 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

I wish I had known them better.

I miss them.

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