Thursday, August 28, 2008

Montreal it is, then...

I was scheduled to throw a hissy fit of epic proportions this afternoon regarding the Montreal trip (for those of you playing at home, I don't want to go, my parents basically strong-armed me into it since it's a Family Function), but as I was gearing up my mom told me that my grandmother (her mom) had been re-diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (she'd been in remission for two years), and wherever it had previously been, it had now spread.

"We're going to be taking family portraits this weekend," my mom said. She said it extremely casually, with almost no effect (she was talking about getting my bangs trimmed) but what I think she actually suspects we're on The Final Countdown.

Nobody in my family would dare use those words, because we're all a bunch of pansies who can't just fess up about painful shit like this. We just bottle it inside for the sake of decorum, and maybe to unleash on someone totally unsuspecting so we can shock them into giving us something we want. Usually this is how I would prefer it (you know me: I'm ALL FOR decorum), but I want someone to break down the wall of good manners and just tell me what's going on for once, in plain language, without trying to manipulate the information, or me, or anything.

I want to know what I'm supposed to do - I still have all of my grandparents. The only person close to me who ever died did so as a Marine in Afghanistan (in January 2004)...and I didn't even like him that much when I knew him, to be honest. I haven't thought about him for a couple of years now, but when I do, it still hurts.
And he's just a casual acquaintance.

Sorry for the artlessness of this post, but I just wanted to let everyone know why I stopped fighting it all of a sudden. I have a family portrait to be in.


L said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother. If it makes you feel any better, I would like to trade places with you, because whenever I whinge about driving to the BFE that is Wellington, TX, in order to visit my grandmother, my parents just say, "Lauren! This could be her last birthday!!" or "Lauren! We don't know how many more thanksgivings she has left!".

Your family and mine should just all move in together and maybe we'll find a happy medium.

Rolling Meme said...

I don't dare to think I can write something profound or helpful about coping with death, but I have had some experience with it.

My dad's mom died back in 2001 (I think -- maybe it was 2000). She and I were never really close; she was an artist who filled her house with paintings, sculptures, and sketches that frightened me. She was cold to almost everyone she knew and carried herself with an arrogance you could sense from several miles away. She just knew a bunch of shit that other people didn't. When you happened to know something she didn't, she acted like you were a fuckwit for a while until it made you feel stupid.

I didn't really get along with her.

When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer (liver, lung, brain, etc.), I was sad but I wasn't devastated. I didn't even really like her that much up until that point. What was fascinating to me is how much she seemed to give a shit about listening to me, to everyone, once she was diagnosed. Everything she thought she knew grew to be irrelevant and she wanted to know new things about the people around her.

I didn't really get it. I mean I was...15 I guess. I just didn't really care.

It's after all this time that I realized I missed out on a big part of her because I wasn't old enough. I don't really regret anything because I was too young to really grasp the idea of mortality.

The thing that sucks the most, I guess (wow I should ramble more), is the idea that she was the artist in the family that I feared, but now intensely admire. I love all of her work and crave discussions with her that she never had with anyone in my family about art, philosophy, politics, etc.

It's just part of life to miss out on things like that.


But seriously, if there's anything specific you want said then say it, but otherwise try to enjoy the time you have and, most of all, pay attention.