Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts


Something Coming

It was just one of those things.

I never knew about it until almost the end. In hindsight I should have seen it coming. I was told about it, then it happened. Not so close as to wallop me over the head with obviousness, but still a close enough cause and effect I should have been able to together.

My grandmother passed away earlier this month. She lived a long life, but that never makes it easier for those left to live with the loss. She was my mom's tether to her childhood. My grandfather Hugh had passed away when my mom was a little girl and my mom was an only child. In many ways they were each other's connection to the world they once shared. Now my mom has her own family for support, but her sense of history has been thrown off balance. 

It was just old age, really. It wasn't cancer or heart disease or diabetes. She had grown old and her kidneys had completely shut down. When one essential thing goes, the rest of them start to fail. That's it. She was in surprisingly good health until the last week or so. I got to say goodbye when she was still her normal self, still sitting and eating lunch, waving me off because she wanted to get back to her routine. She didn't know, and I didn't want her to know, that I was saying goodbye. I had known her kidneys had failed and what it meant for her not to opt for dialysis, but she hadn't seemed to see the gravity of the situation.

Towards the end, my mom told me something that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. It's the kind of thing I would think about and dismiss as an over active imagination or seeking a pattern in the randomness of life, but here I am writing about it. There was a song that would serve as a harbinger. Not like a curse, but a sign of impending change or bad happenstance. Like an omen that arrives as a musical motif, several times over the course of her life.

I don't recall the specifics but I can't keep pestering my mom about it until more time has passed. Here's the long and short of it: when my grandmother had suffered a fall back in mid to late November, my mom had taken her to the doctor to make sure everything was okay. They had returned to her room at the home, with no bad news but no improvement on her health. As my mom helped her mom get out of the car a snippet of music drifted out of the window of another residents room at the assisted living facility. My mom said that her mom told her whenever she heard that song 'It Was Just One of Those Things' something bad would happen. It was never an immediate reaction, like a spring loaded trap. It had been more of a sign of impending change. She would hear the song in an incidental manner (someone's party, a passing car, an open window) and within a few days or a week something would happen. A serious illness. Losing a job. A bad accident. However she made the connection, she held it in her mind for decades. She recognized the song and off handedly explained it to my mom as though it was this harmless old superstition.

My mom had made note of it, and hoped it wasn't the sign it turned out to be.

I've thought about it constantly since my mom told me about it. The first connection I made was to 'Make Your Own Kind of Music' on LOST - an incidental motif that served as a larger sign of connection, a peppy number that clashes with the unpleasant thing it accompanies. I've been racking my brain to see if anything in my life has happened like that. I've been on a constant vigilance to see if anything happens like it. I know our brains seek to create a pattern out of random occurrences  similar to how we are hard wired to see faces even where there are none. Maybe that's what happened to her. I don't know. 

Almost every night, now, I've been having conversations with my grandmother in my dreams. Maybe it's just me processing things I haven't dealt with yet. Maybe I'm looking for answers I never got to ask about. She's never able to answer hard questions before I wake up, though. If I can, I'll see if I can remember to ask her about this in my dreams. It's just one of those things.


Old Vinyl

I just sent my mom a bummer of an email.

When I was in high school I entertained these notions of what life would be like when I got older. I'd be this hep cat, cooler than my high school self-conscious brain would allow. I'd read all these books about big ideas, man, and then write some. You know? Simple, undefined ideas of an unrealized self that never has been realized.

Some things did come to pass, although in a different manner than I would have expected. I did live in the Big City for a spell. A couple, actually. I played in bands. I rapped. I wrote a lot of bad free-verse. I started this blog. Acted in an indie flick. I fell in love. We moved into a happy home and learned to cook fantastic food together. Bought a house together, learned the joys of simple things together. Life is great.


There's always a but. This time it was me responding to an email I received regarding what was to be done with my old record collection. A pause. A moment of recollection and head tilts. Right. Those things. I barely have time to listen to music at all, any more. If I didn't block out white noise at the office with podcasts and dubstep, I'd never listen to much beyond the car. Actually, that's not entirely true. The better half and I tend to push each other on to new tunes. 

The thing is...this idealized self that would eventually have a real bitchin' Hi-Fi with a rad old record collection no longer exists. Instead I find myself excited about listening to new episodes of podcasts as I mow the lawn. I want to listen to comedy albums while I cook. I zone out to techno while I run. Who am I? When did my dad's copies of Who's Next no longer become relevant? When did I give up on his copy of Beggar's Banquet? 

I'm more than a bit disappointed in myself. It's not the end of the world though. There's always some new, unanticipated adventure just around the bend. Better than anything else I could have predicted is that I have my best friend and better half to go with on these adventures. Forget what I wanted to be. I'll be whatever happens to us next.

Besides, vinyl pops and clicks anyway.


Enlarged Heart

Hi hi hi.

I've been watching footage of my wedding. It was exactly one year ago today that I married my best friend and the love of my life. Having celebrated this past weekend and watching the footage a year later, tonight, it all seems so ethereal now. It's this amazing bundle of footage of all of my family and best friends in one room, laughing and eating and hugging and drinking. Watching it gives me that same, heart-full feeling I had that night, where you can't believe there's so much love in one place and everyone is so happy to be together.

It is super cornball, but you're super corn dog for calling me on it.

At some point, my snarktastic brothers pinned me with the labels of wistfully reminiscing and idealizing, especially when I have a couple drinks. Yeah, I'll cop to it. So long as I'm looking at my past with rose colored lenses, I'll take that charge for my wedding. It really and truly was a joyous day filled with everyone our hearts could fit and good lord this does sound corn ball doesn't it?


The point is, sometimes it really is as sincere and sappy as it sounds. I love my better half with all my heart, and all of our families and our friends. I am fully aware of the sickly, self indulgent vanity of it all, but the world can be a cruel, uncaring place sometimes and you need to take pleasure when it comes along. If I want to embrace a very focused day of self importance, I'm going to. My better half was and continues to be the most beautiful woman I've ever known. Sometimes I worry that my family and friends don't know how much I appreciate them. Seeing the footage of one massive, amazing party helps to reaffirm the notion that these people care and care very much.

If you've been in my life and shared something special like this with me - thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please know if you're my friend or family, I don't say the L word that much (beyond the context of media consumption, admittedly) but I feel it in my heart. Like all Americans, I'm vain. But I'm also full of gratitude and love.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for celebrating with me. Thanking you for supporting me when I'm down. Thank you for being as awesome as you are and putting on a good face even when it feels like the whole world is against you, because when YOU make believe like life is easy, I believe you. No joke, all love.

My heart is still full.