Friday, December 7, 2012
the name I cannot leave off: grief during the holidays
This is the 3rd Christmas without you, but I haven't been able to remove your name from my Christmas card list. It's not like I can just draw a line through "Grannie" and I can't seem to bring myself to start a new list and omit your name. Don't worry, I won't actually mail you a Christmas card, but as I address all the other ones, I'll be wishing that I could.
I'll imagine what you would say upon receipt and I think of myself holding the phone up to my ear as you gush over how much the kids have grown. I'd smile as I heard all your usual sayings about how fast the kids grow up...how it will all be over before I know it...and how you just wish you lived closer. Then, you'd of course say something about the poem I wrote on the back. You never were short on praise for me, and as hard as it was to receive it, I'm still secretly thankful you did it. You'd ask me at least three times over the course of the Christmas shopping season about the girls' shoe sizes, dress sizes, and underwear sizes (because, you know, you were practical like that). All that squared away, you'd ask me if I was getting enough rest and not taking on too many projects. And even though I always said "yes," you knew that I meant "no," and you'd proceed in telling me how important it is to take care of myself (because, again, you were practical like that).
I'd imagine how you'd close the conversation in your southern drawl because it was the same almost every time: "You know how much I love you, darlin'. It won't be too long now 'fore I see ya."
But even though I can't physically hear those words now, I think of how they still ring true today. It won't be long, in the whole scheme of time, 'fore I see ya, Grannie, up in Heaven. And while I wait, I'll be sending you Christmas cards in my head and replaying our old conversations. And I'm pretty sure you'll find a way to let me know you're thinking of me, too. Because you are practical like that.
I'll love you forever,
To my readers: Grief is not often discussed, especially around the holidays, but I invite you, in the comments, to leave us with a name of a person whom you miss, and why, so that we can celebrate those not with us anymore on this earth. Sometimes, it does wonders for the heart just to speak of our loved-ones names and let others know why there are so important to us.