Dear Gramps

I have read of such loss lately, Gramps, and just like it always does, any loss (whether it’s mine or my family’s or the guy down the road or my good friend losing her dog or a tragic ending in a book) reminds me of the late August night, almost 12 years ago, when Big Dawg came and picked me up in a raging thunderstorm to go see you one last time.

I remember I was on a low-carb diet at the time, and I had just started eating dinner — flank steak and broccoli and salad.  I still can’t use that particular seasoning rub to this day, without nearly breaking down in my kitchen.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but whatever was said, I had hopes in my head that I was going to get to talk to you again and hear your scratchy and gruff voice say my name, Rosie.

It didn’t turn out that way.  You were wrapped in a white sheet from head to toe and on a gurney and I touched your chest and put my face close to yours and my whole world exploded and, while I don’t remember the exact details, I remember hearing a howling noise and then realizing that noise was me and shutting my eyes tight and saying something about how I had just seen you a few days before and you had been FINE.  FINE, DAMMIT.

I turned back around because I wanted to kiss your cheek before they took you away, but I was in a big empty room, just me and QoB and BD and some nursing staff.  I couldn’t tolerate that I had ruined my chance to say goodbye to you by getting overly emotional.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to wheel you off at that point was obviously a person that did not know me deeply.

The next week was a blur.  I tried to go into work, failed miserably.  Everyone around me was a complete wreck.  I can remember going through pictures to put up at the memorial service and I remember breaking down into tears time and time again.  Hysterical tears, hot tears, fast-moving, and unforgiving tears.

I still don’t remember much of that time, but I do know that I think of you all the time.  The wounds have healed over some, but I still have regret.  That I didn’t see you often enough or say thank you enough or stop by with a box of Cheez-its (our special favorite) just to say hi.  It was so hard being around Grandma, I just wanted my Grandpa back, the one who gardened on his knees for hours on end, even when he could barely walk, and the Grandpa that taught me how to drive by having me take back-roads from Topeka to Silver Lake at every opportunity.

The grandpa after the apartment with Sparky was sad, when he had to live with grandma again, when he didn’t feel as good physically, when PTSD from his time in the Navy rattled him as it never had before, when he couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk, couldn’t do whatever the hell it was he wanted to do.  Because he was like that, he was a man who did whatever he pleased.  If he wanted to whip up a bunch of refrigerator pickles, then he was going to do it, and if he felt like taking a drive or going to all of your basketball games (even though he could barely walk), then that is what he was going to do.

I find that every year that passes, I lose more of my memories of him.  Some are extremely fresh in my mind, some not so much.  In a day or maybe a week where there has been so much loss, the pang to my heart from Grandpa being gone is next-to-unbearable.  Should I be over this MUCH better 12 years down the road, yes.  I don’t need anyone to tell me that.  Some things are really hard, and this is one of those really hard things.  Every loss reminds me of him, and everytime I think of him, I am frightened by how much I don’t remember.

I hope you are proud of me, Grandpa, up on that big pontoon boat in the sky, and I am pretty sure you are.  Sometimes when I don’t feel like being tough, I think about your life and it gives me strength.  I hope you would be happy for me, too.  I have found love and love conquers all, and I know that you knew that.  It is still a month and several days until the anniversary of your death, but I wanted to be the first one to say how I miss you so, and how I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the love you poured into me when you were here.  I know you weren’t into religion or going to church, but I do believe that you and Sparky (and Mom’s childhood dogs) are out there somewhere, catching crappie after crappie, and moving around with the legs and back of a 16-year-old.

Always, Forever, Amen.  I love you.

 

 

Ten Things of Thankful

As I start this post, I have my fingers crossed that it will go as well as the one I did two weeks ago.  I had a record-high comment count for that day!  I think I’m getting the hang of photos and I’ve got all sorts of things to be grateful for, so let’s begin!

1) As mentioned above, I was blown away last time by all of the TToT team members comments. The bloggers who sponsor this link-up are amazing, and, when I did this two weeks ago, made me feel more welcomed in their space than I ever thought possible in a link-up.  That being said, they make an obvious choice to lead off Ten Things of Thankful.  I am thankful I found the linkup and I am thankful for the TToT team’s big welcome.

via Mohit Mago

via Mohit Mago

 

2)  Feeling a whole lot of thankful for our main employee (like, other than those in the fam) and my dad for saving my cookies on a big order today.  My back is feeling better, but I’m not up to hand-selecting 40 extra-large goldfish and dishing up 12 dozen minnows.  They must have sensed my panic when the guy placed his order, standing by the bait tanks.  I was able to pass the task off to them easily and go do what’s more my thing — bullshitting and ringing up happy customers.  😀

No, not that kind of goldfish.  Don't I wish!  As a sidenote, these are special goldfish crackers, that the blogger where this photo originated made into a recipe he calls pirhanna goldfish.  Go check them out, they look amazing!   (via http://thatdarneddad.com

No, not that kind of goldfish. Don’t I wish! As a side note, these are special recipe goldfish crackers, called piranha goldfish. Go check them out at That Darned Dad; the recipe looks delish and oh-so-easy!

 

3) Last TToT, I gave thanks for the ever useful, much needed hair tie.  Well, now I have to say I am ever so grateful for my hairbrush.  A lot like hair ties, when one loses their hairbrush, bad things can happen.  Try sleeping on wet-from-the-shower hair without brushing it first.  Good thing I had a hair tie (and a found hairbrush) the next morning!  Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

It was actually a little worse than this.  Picture hair about that big, but much more curly and frizzy. The originators of this picture actually have some good tips on how to repair frizziness.  Check them out here!

It was actually a little worse than this. Picture hair about that big, but much more curly and frizzy.
The originators of this picture actually have some good tips on how to repair frizziness. Check them out here!

 

4) My mom’s BFF, Glo.  She is an amazing woman, known best for her authentic Mexican cooking and looking perfectly dressed and accessorized for every occasion.  I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever seen her without earrings or at least some form of makeup on.  Glo has been taking me to church with her and helping me on my journey to perhaps become Catholic.  Glo is about the sweetest woman I’ve ever known.  She would do (and does) do anything for anyone.  I feel very blessed to have her in my life.  She is my mom’s best friend, and my good friend by proxy.

See more of these here

See more of these here

 

5) I am thankful that my friend and fellow blogger, Marilyn Armstrong, made it through serious cardiac surgery without much of a hitch and is now resting at home.  She can now hang out with her beloved dogs and amazing husband Garry Armstrong.  Marilyn has been a good bloggie friend to me now for months, commenting on my posts and exchanging emails.  She is one of the wisest women I know and I cherish our friendship.  In addition to friendship, her book, 12-Foot Teepee, sparked the desire to start getting in better touch with my God.  I am very thankful for Marilyn and am excited to see the day when we can email and chitchat back and forth again.

6) On a related note, I am very thankful that my friend has her husband, Garry Armstrong, to rely on while she is resting.  He was so very faithful to her blog while she was in the hospital, giving daily update posts.  Garry was a world-renowned TV news reporter back in his heyday, and you could see it come through in his posts.  He, of course, had to put aside his fears and worries as a  husband for a bit, and let all of Marilyn’s bloggie friends (and there are many) know how she was.  He is actually still making the posts and I know that Marilyn is leaning on him in her recovery.  He’s just an all-around good guy, as far as I can tell, and I enjoy the conversations I have with him as well.

7)  I am thankful for my parents’ dog, Miss Kitty, for putting Rascal’s fur shedding into perspective.  The only difference is that Miss Kitty lives outside, and Rascal is very much an inside pup.  While I still haven’t (and may never) get over the incessant shedding and continuous sweeping and vacuuming, I can take it as it comes and realize, as with most things, it could be worse.

I unfortunately don't have a picture of Rascal, but this one looks a lot like him.  He is a Lab/Pitt/Spaniel mix.  He sheds like a mother.

I unfortunately don’t have a picture of Rascal, but this one looks a lot like him. He is a Lab/Pitt/Spaniel mix. He sheds like a mother.

 

8) I am thankful for my mom loaning me her digital camera, after DSB broke mine.  I need to test it out, get it going, get used to it.  I was shocked to find I have no pictures of Rascal, and no current pictures of Kizzie.  This just will not do, because they will probably be gracing my TToT more than once.  Supposedly it’s just a point-and-shoot camera, and any idiot can use it.  We’ll see — I’ve never had much luck before.

This is just about exactly the camera I'll be working with.  Suggestions and tips and advice are welcome in the comments section or by email!

This is just about exactly the camera I’ll be working with. Suggestions and tips and advice are welcome in the comments section or by email!

 

9) I am thankful for DSB.  I am always thankful for DSB, actually, but I don’t always mention it.  When I hurt my back, he took one for the team several times and helped me out around the house.  He really isn’t doing very well medically, so that made it all the more special that he directed what little stamina or energy he does have into helping me.  We celebrated our two year anniversary on March 27th, and actually celebrated-celebrated last week, when we had a little extra money.  I bought him a filet knife, knife sharpener, and fishing license and made him banana pudding.  He didn’t buy a present, but gifts aren’t all material things.  He showed me, in his own way, how much he loves me.  I hope this is a love that is meant to last forever, I really do.  Sometimes I have doubts, but then we spend five hours together just talking and bullshitting and joking around, and those five hours feel like five minutes, and I think — how could this  NOT be the love of my life?

 

love-inspirational-daily

 

 

10) I am thankful to many blog friends out there, too many to name.  You consistently read and comment, you email, we chat back and forth in the comments section.  You know who you are and I want you to know that you mean the world to me.  I’ve never had friends before like I have friends now, and I never want to go back.  All of the connections I have made, the wonderful and witty and new and inspiring writing and thoughts I have been made privy to, the sense of community.  Love.  Love.  Love.