My cousin was married a few weeks ago. This meant that I got to spend time with my favorite people: the Joris clan. I adore them.
Of course this trip was a bit crazy, weddings don't generally allow for a lot of extra down time with the bride and her family. It was magically infused with the kind of love that you have no doubts about, it was perfection and beauty and I am so, so thrilled for and proud of my cousin.
One of the realities of 'coming home' to my family is that my grandpa isn't there. I saw him last Thanksgiving. He was in a bed, set up in the living room, pale and mostly in a daze or sleeping. There were a few times when he woke up that I got to talk to him. He remembered that I was pregnant, he asked about the baby. One time he was out on the back porch in his wheel chair, getting some air and sun. Rosanna was running about, eating mandarins and sharing them with Grandpa. He was smiling. In that moment, it was like he never left.
My Dad was the one who called to tell us that Grandpa had passed. What a strange conversation to be in. I wasn't shocked. I wasn't caught of guard, I suspected that was why he was calling. Still, I was hit with a huge and heavy sadness.
My Grandma just sold their house. That's hard for me to believe too. I was bathed in her kitchen sink as a baby and I bathed my baby there too. I ran around the back porch with bare feet slapping the cool gray cement. I helped collect chicken eggs. I slunk around the perimeter of the house in the dark with my Grandma and a thick stick, shining a flashlight into corners and squashing black widows to death when we found them. No doubt squealing a bit each time. I avoided the crazy white cat who was my friend one moment and wanted me for dinner then next. I searched through strawberry vines and picked out bright red treasures. I snuggled and hung on the neck of a big golden dog who was as tall as I was. All of this happened, of course, over years and years.
It's all a part of a bigger unit. The house, the yard, my Grandparents. One cozy, familiar package. It's almost confusing when I consider what no longer exists for me to refuge to. I feel pain in my throat and a snake squeezing my heart.
Growing up is lame.