Booooo, to feeling things! I was doing so good when I could obsess over mailing presents on time, but I sent them all out yesterday, plus cooked a week’s worth of food, plus did laundry and cleaned the kitchen, so now I’ve started feeling things. I hate it!
I’m sorry, I know this is a film blog and I should be talking about movies. But I can’t think that straight right now, so I’m writing about what I’m thinking about. And anyway, grief is something we should talk about more. Not big cinematic tragic grief, but just every day grief.
So this morning I used my new/old percolator for the first time. Dad got it for me from Grandpa’s apartment, and it is super big and nice. And I plugged it in and all of a sudden there was this very distinctive smell of the metal and plastic heating up and I was unexpectedly thrown back to being in Grandma’s kitchen when I was a little girl.
I’m upset about Grandpa, and you regular readers know from the past several years how integral he was to my life on a daily basis. But Grandma died before I started blogging and I don’t think y’all know how much MORE important she was to my life. She loved me more than anyone on earth will ever love me again. That’s a wonderful thing to have had but a terrible TERRIBLE thing to lose. And I’m not sure if the having is worth the losing.
I’m the second grandchild. When my sister was born, Grandma’s life began. Well, began again, after ending when her youngest child left home. Grandma is one of those people who was just born to be a caregiver. Which is why before she was married, she was a nurse. After marriage, she loved taking care of her husband and her in-laws, and then my aunt was born and she loved being a mother even more, having someone who she could love to infinity. And then her children, irritatingly, took an absolute eternity to give her grandbabies. My sister came along, and she was over the moon with happiness. And then I came along, and she fell totally and absolutely in love with me.
I don’t want to say that Grandma loved me more than her other grandchildren. She had a particular special bond with each of us in our own way. But there was some sort of affinity with me in particular. I was a very cute little blonde and blue eyed baby, there was that. Grandpa complained to us once that “every time we go out, ever time she sees a little blonde girl, she has to say ‘doesn’t she look just like Margaret? But not as cute as Margaret was.'” But mostly think it was just that I loved spending time with Grandma because she loved me and she loved spending time with me because I loved spending time with her. Somehow I was particular receptive to her love and that’s all she wanted, someone to let her love them.
Do you know what it’s like to walk into a room and have someone instinctively turn towards you? To have them hang on your every word and think you are the prettiest smartest specialist person in the whole entire universe? It’s amazing! And that lasted all through Grandma’s slow decline. By the time I was a teenager, she was already losing it a little bit. And then by college, she was sundowning and entering into serious dementia. But even when she lost the ability to form sentences, I would walk into the room and her whole face would light up. I would just sit next to her and call her “Grandma” and hold her hand and she would be focused 100% on me to the exclusion of everything else in the world.
When I was a little girl, my first grade teacher pulled my Mom aside because she just had to share what I had said during a class discussion. We were talking about Grandparents and who they are and what they do, and I raised my hand and said with great surety “Grandparents are to love you”. Which is true, that is what they are for. Or what they should be for, your emergency backup unconditional love sources, the ones who don’t have to wake you up for school or do any of the messy stuff, but just love you love you love you. And that’s what I had. I had 4 of the loveliest lovingest grandparents in the history of the world.
My Poppie died when I was 16, which was sad because he used to chuckle at everything we said/did and he loved to take us to parades and amusement parks, and buy us 100s (literally 100s) of stupid cheap presents for Christmas. And then Grandma died when I was 24 and that was sad because no one will ever love me like that again and I don’t think I will ever quite be used to being in a Grandma-less world. And then G’Jo (Mom’s Mom) died when I was 29 which was sad because she taught me how to sew and cook and read and garden and her hands were always soft and cold, like tissue paper, when they patted my cheek. And now Grandpa is gone, and somehow all 4 of them are hitting me all at once now, all over again.
That doesn’t seem fair, does it? That each subsequent loss is multiplied by all the previous ones? Seems like over time grief should get easier, not harder. I was done with missing Grandma and now it’s flooding over me all over again, UGH! Just because of a stupid percolator.
On other days I can say “having the love of these 4 people gave me a grounding that will give me a better life forever” or “when I close my eyes, I can still feel them with me” or “I have so many other people in my life who love me”. But some days it just SUCKS. I lost the one person who loved me to the moon and back and I’m never getting that back. And I lost 3 other people who gave me total absolute approval and support at all times, and I’m not getting that back either, at least not from folks who look at me and see an adorable blonde toddler instead of an adult.
(see Genevieve? I’m giving in to the sad! Like you and my Mother keep telling me to do! It’s HORRIBLE)