Sunday, April 25, 2010

for the stories i will never know (NFTD #18)

It is a heartbreaking instance when the person who used to encourage you to eat your vegetables is now fighting you about eating theirs. There have been many times since March of 1999 when I have become overwhelmed with the effects of my Mom's accident. So many times I have listened to my little heart crying "this isn't how it is suppose to be", over and over again. And yet inescapably reality cries back "Yes it is". Loosing a parent is never easy and living in the constant subtle reminder that you can no longer pass as normal is a fast track to little bit's of shattering.

And today brought with it more bad news, my Grandfather is dying. Well actually to be honest he has been dying for the last year or so, but now it is more likely a manner of weeks than months. Even sitting here writing this I find myself stopping and pausing with the knowledge that very soon I will be without a Grandfather. With him goes another bit of my family history and part of me. Loss is this horrible thing and when it begins happening before you are old enough to ask the right questions to know the stories of old, every subsequent loss feels like a greater void. Like a hole in your understanding of who you are and why you are here. I have lost stories from my Grandfather and Grandmother Knippel already, although that side of the family was better with stories so many are clips in my faulty memory. Also there are always my Aunts, beautiful women who carry love, hospitality, and stories in their beings. From them I may be reminded and told the history of my muddle people. But from my Mother's family very little was told. Weird oddly out of place stories like the one about my Uncle, my mother's youngest brother, being caught smoking my Grandmother's pilfered cigarettes and Grandma making him smoke the whole pack until he was green and puking.

There is very little to hold though, so much hidden like my mom's baby pictures and photos of her growing up, the like of which I had never seen until I was given a box. Cleaning out my Grandparent's condo and storage unit, my Aunt and Uncle discovered a treasure trove of a life. Living though the Depression and so many other of the world changing events of the last century left my Grandparents with the save everything mentality. I never knew this as a child or even a teenager at least not consciously, yet I can remember something of this being said or told to me between high school and junior high. So many aspects of their lives was hidden, in storage, in propriety, in that damned frozen chosen mentality of the WASPy Presbyterians that my mom's family is. Their English and Welsh heritages accumulating to this reservedness. And so I find myself wondering if I know my Grandparents as I sometimes wonder if I know my Mother. The woman I love so much it hurts, who for years following the raping of her deep and beautiful intellectual mind and replacing it with a clarity of focus and belief never seen before, I couldn't figure out how to relate to with out words and ideas. I could only sit next to her and hold her hand sending and receiving our secret message of "i love you" passed down from the moment I can remember. And yet sometimes I wonder at all the things she can't tell me, those things that I search for in her letters and journals.

Loss is a bitch of a thing and I am tired of it.

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