Monday, June 2, 2008

The Hardest Day of the Year

I managed to make it through this weekend without turning into a complete sobbing mess.  May 31st is the most difficult day of the year for me to get through.  I posted about it last year, but it seems that I feel a deep need to do it all over again.

What is May 31st?  This year it was my 5th wedding anniversary.  It was also the 2nd anniversary of my grandmother's death.  And you know what?  It was a little easier this year.  That doesn't seem to have come out right...  It's never easy.  The feeling of loss.  It hits you unexpectedly.  It comes out of the blue and bitch slaps you right upside the head.  The fact that I will never be able to forget that day...

I was standing in the checkout line at Costco.  I had stopped in to pick up a new book and I was on my way to our company's golf club to meet my boss and a coworker for lunch.  I was waiting for the cashier to ring me up when my cell phone rang and I saw a Maryland area code, but the number wasn't one that I was familiar with.  When I answered the phone, I heard the voice of the woman who birthed me.  And I knew.  Right away I knew something bad had happened.  My heart started racing and my mouth dried up.  There was a roaring in my ears that didn't completely block out the one-sided conversation.  And there it was.  The news that my grandmother, the woman who raised me, was dead.  Gone from this earth.

I walked away from the register, completely numb.  As I stumbled toward the exit, I had the simultaneous feeling that I was going to both throw up and pass out.  I made it to a concrete ledge to the right of the entrance/exit where I collapsed into a sobbing mess.  I didn't care who walked by me or saw me.  My only thought was that my world had ended.  I couldn't live without her unconditional love and support.  She was the only person in my life who loved me the most.  We would fight like two she-cats on occasion and then make up right away.  Flashes of an unbearable childhood passed through my brain, tempered only by her love.  Memories swirled around in my head of road trips and life lessons.  Praise and punishment.  Laughter, tears and most importantly love.  All the while, tears were pouring down my face, splashing onto the concrete into a little puddle.

When I finally pulled myself together, I ran to my car, ignoring the ringing of my cell phone.  I slid into the seat, numb all over, not knowing where to go or what to do.  I know that I talked to three of my sisters and that there was a conversation with my husband as well.  The next thing I knew, I was in the parking lot of the golf club.  I tried to reach my boss, but his phone went unanswered.  I put on my sunglasses and walked into the restaurant.  Inside, glasses firmly intact, I spotted their table and walked over.  I vaguely remember telling my boss what was going on and heading towards home, more phone conversations allowing me the ability somehow to drive myself home.  

The rest of the day was spent coordinating plans.  Until the time came to tell my daughter that her great-grandmother was gone.  The woman that she worshipped, just as I had, she would never get to hug and kiss again.  The little one had just turned two and didn't really understand what was going on.  My husband was overwhelmed, I think, having just lost his grandmother the month before and he was so very close to my grandmother.

Somehow we made it through.  Clinging to one another until we made the drive, straight through the night, from Ohio to Maryland.  We went directly to the funeral home where I had to deal with not only the most painful thing to happen to me in my entire life, but I had to work with a woman that I despised and keep her from making a mockery of my grandmother's life by shortchanging her in death.  I could go into the countless episodes of insanity that were created by her and her machinations, but I am letting it go.  It won't help me mourn and will only take away from the focus of the topic.

Sisters and brother, aunts and uncles and cousins and friends all rallied around us with their support.  My grandmother's people are mostly country folk who work hard and live their lives through their own set of moral standards.  Good people by anyone's definition, they kissed and hugged and patted myself and my family.  They held the baby and fawned over my daughter.  We told countless stories and celebrated the life of the one person that I consider to be my hero.  We cried and laughed and hugged and kissed all over again.  That is what family is supposed to do.

Last year was hard.  Really, really hard.  This year, was still difficult and the worst part was that I kept those feelings bottled up inside.  I didn't want to talk to the kids about it and bring up their pain, especially my daughter's, so I stayed silent.  Through an anniversary spent around a bonfire with the kids and our friends.  It was mentioned a few times throughout the evening that I was unusually quiet, but I chalked it off to working a lot and being tired.  But today, after coming home this evening, it hit me.  And all I could do was crawl into my bed and shake.  My husband asked me what he did to upset me and I had to restrain myself from taking his head off.  The most upsetting fact is that he either forgot, or he doesn't care.  Either way, I will deal with that later, but for tonight, I just needed to unload.  If I didn't have this blog to write in, I would probably be gullet deep in a bottle of booze right now, so we have one plus to add to this weekend's tally.

So there it is.  I shed some tears today.  I walked around with a lump in my throat the size of a softball, but I made it through without being too nasty to the people around me.  And when the resentment and hurt surfaced, I hid away under the covers.  It may not be the best way to deal with pain, but to each their own.  Now I think it is past time to go to bed.  Sleep may not be forthcoming, but I can at least rest my weary body and close these gritty eyes.

Bye my loves.

Take an extra minute out of your day today to call someone you care about and tell them how much they mean to you.  It can make a difference.  Trust me.



Avitable said...

When my grandmother's birthday came around the year after she died, and my Outlook calendar popped up and reminded me, that was when I felt most affected by her passing. Love ya lots.

Miss Britt said...

I'm sorry baby. Hugging you from here.

Marianne said...

My grandmother's been gone three years this past April. About a year after her passing, I found an e-mail she had sent me four years earlier. I don't know what made me keep it...but it felt like she was talking to me again.

Mourn however you need to. They say time heals, but that doesn't make it any easier. I'm sorry.


abstractjenn said...

Thinking of you sweetie - giving you hugs from the east coast.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

Take care of yourself

Kim Ayres said...


Anonymous said...

Why do you think Hubby doesn't care? Didn't he ask you what the matter was? Maybe he has forgotten the date, but he hasn't forgotten that he loves you. Maybe he doesn't want to mention it in case it will upset you more.
Please share it with him. Expecting him to be a mindreader is the best way to mindfuck with yourself. I know this thing!
From Koz

"said" Woman said...

Beautiful post and what a great blog!

cat said...

I'm so sorry. What a wonderful post.

Her memory will always be with you and no-one can take that from you.

Anonymous said...

Someone just sent me a link to your blog saying I'd like it. I didn't think it would make me cry. My grandmother essentially raised me too and when she died a part of me did as well. I know people say "you'll get over it," but I don't think that's true. I think you feel it always, and always deeply, but after all find yourself trying to live in her essence out of real respect. Even through your own hard times, what did your grandmother face that was harder than what you face-if you are like me, yours faced far worse obstacles and still made it through to make a granddaughter love her that much.