I got a call from my Mom last Monday. It wasn’t a “Hey, whatcha doing right now?” kind of call. She called to tell me that my Papa breathed his last and moved from earth to heaven in that moment. I knew that he had been getting worse and not better and that this was inevitable, but there is no rule book for how to respond to news like that…no fool-proof words to comfort people. Mostly, I felt distance – distance from my family and distanced from the emotions. I wasn’t as close with my grandpa as I was my grandma. I didn’t know him – but he was still family. There at all of our holiday gatherings; he added a presence to our lives that is removed now. Life changes with death, you know?
For most of my life, my grandparents lived in the tiniest town I think I’ve ever spent time in – Torrington, WY. This is where we buried my Nana and my family once again made the trek, possibly for the last time, to this town of few stoplights and no Wal-Mart. I remember as a kid that I didn’t always like visiting Nana and Papa. It tended to be a long drive with few stops (I’ll spare you the details on that – trust me you are better off!) and a boring time – a time that meant that one of the three of us girls were going to have to squish into the dreaded middle seat. Once there, we usually found things to occupy ourselves, but the days were longer and we were out of our normal routines and lives.
Going back there, though, I remembered it differently. I think that’s the mercy of memories sometimes…they come back in greater focus and major on the good things. We drove by the two houses that my grandparents lived in and commented on how well (or NOT well) the current owners were keeping it up. I looked at one house and remembered pictures taken in the backyard when I was barely able to walk. I loved that backyard because, you see, my Nana had plastic animals that I felt needed love and attention. So, I would toddle out there and pet them. A lot of things reminded me of life back then – when things were less complicated and I had less responsibility for my person.
It has taken me a long time to sift through the weekends events and figure out what to say to the people that ask a simple question: “How was your weekend?” Simple question but, for me, a difficult answer.
If I had to sum it up, I’d say this – The weekend was full of changes. My sister arrived with her new husband. My youngest sister showed me parts of her and her life that I feel I don’t even recognize who she is anymore. My parents tackled all the decisions that they needed to make and spent time being hosts to my extended family. You know, life brings changes, too.
I personally hated the book Who Moved My Cheese? Mostly, I think I have a problem with being compared to a rodent. I don’t do change well – but life really does demand change and transitions and I somehow will muddle through. If someone could give me a playbook, it’d help though…I’m just sayin‘.