And a year later…
I think it’s been more than a year, hasn’t it? Last time I wrote, my grandfather had just passed away and I think it was Labor Day or something. And how here we are, November 2014.
I am hoping this year’s Christmas is better than last year’s. Why? Well, I’ll start with the fact that I could not have the week of Christmas off last year because of my stupid job and the stupid people with whom I work. We can only have two people off at a time, and despite the fact that I am the only person in the department who has no family in the area–never mind that my family lives 500 miles away–other people deserve time off too. Yes, they do, but Christmas 2013 was the first time in my life I did not spend Christmas Day with my family.
Anyway, I got the week before Christmas off, and I suppose that ended up being okay, because I got to see my family at a time when we really needed each other. See, my grandmother fell at home Thursday, December 12, 2013, and was taken to the hospital. She’d hit her head. I arrived in St. Charles the following Monday, and Tuesday I went to see her. She was not in good shape. I told my mom she needed to see Grandma because I didn’t think things would end well.
By Thursday it was clear Grandma was not going to survive her injuries. Her kidneys were shutting down. She was not conscious. I left St. Louis Friday, December 20, and got the call the next day that Grandma had passed away early Saturday morning.
I had a shitty Christmas Day at my wife’s aunt’s house. Oh, I don’t blame them. Her aunt, cousin, cousin’s wife, their son, other cousin, and my wife’s youngest uncle were all together. We had ham and lots of good food. There were presents and lots of general good will and Christmas spirit. I just wasn’t feeling it. I flew back to St. Louis on Saturday, December 28. Grandma’s visitation was December 30, at the same funeral home we had Grandpa’s not six months before. My aunt made photo boards, just like she did for Grandpa, and she’d displayed a few of my Grandma’s quilts for people to see. My Grandma did beautiful work. People were amazed by the quilts. I felt lucky (and still do) that I have five of them to remember her by, including a wedding ring quilt that is on our bed currently. Has been since we got married, actually. Grandma, when she found out Maggie and I got married, asked me if we put the wedding ring quilt on our bed. It meant a lot to her to know we did. It means a lot to me now to have those quilts. I will never get rid of them and plan on passing them down to my kid, whether the baby be a boy or a girl. “Your great-grandma made these,” I’ll tell him/her. Of course, if it’s a girl, she’ll already know all about that legacy, because her name is going to be Alice.
Grandma would’ve loved that.
Anyway, Grandma went into the ground next to Grandma on New Year’s Eve. We listened to “Amazing Grace,” the version sung by Meryl Streep in the movie “Silkwood.” Beautiful song.
And now I have no grandparents left.
And I think about how I will feel when it’s my mom who is gone. And I think about my own mortality.
After that, I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did this year. Two thousand fourteen hasn’t been a bellweather of a year either. I lost both my grandparents within six months, and two days after we buried my grandmother, my mother fell again at home. Two days after my grandmother was put in the ground we were at the emergency room in St. Charles finding out my mom’s hip implant broke again and the day after that, we were at Barnes and my mom was having major surgery to have that implant removed. I had to leave for Detroit the next day.
And now my mom will never walk again. She’s in a wheelchair, selling her condo and moving into a villa, where everything is on one floor because she can’t walk anymore.
My heart broke. And then it broke again this summer, when my wife almost died of a heart attack.
I honestly don’t know if I can take anything else happening. When I sit and think about it all, I cry. I don’t like to cry, because it hurts my skin. So I try not to. But sometimes I just can’t help it and the tears pour down my face. I guess this explains why I feel on edge a lot of the time, like I am frayed and might start unraveling at some point, completely and totally losing shape and dissolving into nothing. My heart is a bunch of pieces and I feel alone. I’ve often thought about going back home to St. Louis, but I don’t think that’s the answer.
Feeling completely alone isn’t new to me, but it’s a different sensation at 37 than it was at 25.
My job is a joke. My life is a joke. I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel most of the time like I’m going through the motions, with people around me who really don’t give a shit about me or my feelings, but running away would not solve the problem. A lot of the time I want to curl up in a ball and sleep or cry. But that wouldn’t solve anything either.
And I miss smoking. A lot sometimes. We both gave it up when the wife had the heart attack. I miss it. I miss smoking with my coffee. I think that’s when it bothers me most. I suppose I should give up the coffee too because it doesn’t help the panic attacks.
I have to have one vice, though–had to give up all the others!
I really should see someone about the depression, I know. And I need a new job, one where I can feel good about myself and my abilities, and one where I have some of my own tasks to deal with, instead of a big hot mess.
And if we’re going to have a kid, this needs to change.