I sat down to write something that didn’t come out of my rainbow unicorn diary with the heart-shaped lock – or even something comic related – and I came up empty.
The holidays are always hard for me. They remind me of how much I miss my Grandparents – who I lived with and who raised me. Today, I was out shopping and the grief felt so new and raw and I almost started crying in a mall.
There are always signs of them in my life. The ever present Cardinal – which reminds me so much of my Grandma. And there isn’t a day that I don’t feel my Grandpa next to me.
Perhaps it was hard because the mall was the mall of my childhood – where I used to accompany my Grandpa when he gave blood. It’s a practice that I wish I could continue but sadly, I am and, I fear, will always be too anemic to do so.
It’s not just that I miss them so much that it feels like a weight pressing down on my chest but it’s that I miss that they brought everyone together. After they died, it was fragmented and I, like the child of divorce, suddenly had two Christmases, two birthdays, two of every celebration where before there was only one. It wasn’t just the family drama that tore up the family – though there was plenty of that – it’s that the heart of the family was gone. I don’t think that we could replicate those Christmases from my childhood ever again. My Grandparents are what made them; and without them…well, it wouldn’t be the same.
Don’t get me wrong. I love and treasure the Christmases I have now – my family is little and broken but still good. Yeah, still good. I look forward to making new traditions with Mr. Comic Book Goddess and keeping some of the old. I know that I don’t miss the stress of those Christmases – it was so busy and crazy and I was always happy when it was over.
But, six and seven years in, it surprises me just how palpable the grief still is. Grief is a real bitch. You never get over it, but the hurt eases and you put it somewhere just outside of your consciousness and you let it make you a stronger person and you go on with your life. But then, you’re reminded that the grief, while it may have changed momentarily, is still there. That it never goes away.
Sure, it doesn’t hurt as much as when the grief was still new – that would be entirely it’s own level of Hell – and sometimes, you can manage a sad smile at whatever evoked the response in you. But, as with today, it can hit you and shake you to your very core.
…and it still fucking sucks.