Sunday, December 4, 2011

maybe this year will be better than the last

I always loved the song "A Long December" by the Counting Crows even though it's kind of depressing and mellow.  This morning I am having a tough time remembering that this year is better than the last.  Grief has a funny way of sneaking up on you at times and since yesterday ended up being a bit of a disaster, I'm having a really hard time remembering why I didn't just buy plane tickets to run the half marathon in Las Vegas with part of our running group.  I know I didn't want to spend the money but it probably would have been a way better way to spend my birthday and today.  Ug.  I hate looking back and having regret over decisions.

Three hundred and sixty five days ago, I was waiting for the phone call from my dad to tell me that my precious Grandmother had passed away.  The night before had been a really fitful night of sleep because when we talked before bed, he had told me it would be soon.  It wasn't long after the sun came up that the call came and I'm not sure if he said much more than "She's gone".  Adam and I packed our things, headed to O'Hare and were in San Antonio in time for dinner.  I remember walking into the restaurant to a big table of our family and realizing that she wasn't ever going to be sitting at the table with us again.  Despite it being awful at times, a lot of our family came down from Boston and so many of my friends showed up to the services to support me.

My nanny job in Chicago had ended right before all of this and I remember feeling so awful, I had nothing to return to.  I knew I wouldn't find a job during the holidays but my dad made me leave San Antonio, which was the best decision for both of our sanity.  We could have easily sat around all day wallowing in grief.  She was such a key person in both of our lives, for our entire lives, that it was incredibly difficult to imagine going on without that.  Even today, I really can't believe it's been an entire year.  On the one hand, it seems like only yesterday that we sat across from her at her dining room table but on the other, it feels like so much has happened that she wasn't here for.

It's not a maybe, it's definitely this year is better than the last.  I had no direction in my life last year and I was sitting in the middle of some really heavy depression.  This year, I know where my outlets are to release my feelings and I can write a post like this (shedding a few tears, of course) but it won't drag down my entire day.  Just typing these words is a sort of therapy for me.  I can sit here this morning, have my own personal remembrance and be sad, for just a little while.   My grandmother was not the type of person who would let me sit and be wallowing for very long.

We didn't do any family readings at her services, which was a good thing, since the pastor called up all the grandchildren (not part of the plan, GAH!) at the rosary (was it a rosary? I can't even remember now) just after I'd had my moment where I just lost my shit.  There is no better way to put it, I was sitting with my cousins, Adam, mom and brother since my dad was with all his brothers and sisters and Grandpa in the front row and I just had a meltdown and then, not two seconds later, the pastor calls all of us up.  I'm at least 99% sure that I had snot and tears everywhere when we had to go up there (I almost didn't go, seriously, it was that bad).  So all of that to say that even though I wanted to read something, it's almost certain that I wouldn't have been able to get through it.  If I had read something, my first choice would have been the e.e. cummings poem:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

After the service, I went up to her casket with the poem on a cell phone to read it to her in my own
personal moment.  It ended up being better that way, I think.  And the story of how awful I was when
we had to go up in front of everyone is a funny memory for me.  If she were still around, that is
definitely something that we would have laughed about together, in one of those "remember when..."
stories.  Before we moved here, I knew I wanted to have a part of the poem up in our house.  I ordered it
in August, and finally remembered to get a frame for it last week and Adam put it up on Friday night
right by my side of the bed.  I do always carry her heart with me, not just today, on this solemn
anniversary, but always.

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