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My grandma may be dead but she’s still inspiring

I’m sitting here waiting for inspiration to hit me. I’m ready inspiration, come and get me. But no, the only thing here with me is my cat, rubbing his head annoyingly against the top of the screen. I give him a little shove, but clearly, he doesn’t get it and pads even closer to me, intent on laying his body across my keyboard. As if I didn’t have enough obstacles.

Uh, move it buddy.

Seriously?

I’m struggling to come up with meaningful thoughts to put out there; a moment that resonates, that tugs at the heart stings with a twang, a story with a moral that makes you really think about life, or the real coup, being able to give you a good laugh, the kind that can change your mood for just a second.

Instead I just sit here, staring at the screen until I’m almost looking through it, waiting for one of those cool 3-D images to pop out at me. START TYPING. THINK, DAMN IT. YOU CAN DO IT.

I’ve been feeling so numb lately, and not just because of the Raynaud’s that turns my feet and  fingers white and cold as a cup of milk. Could it be winter blues? Or, is this the next stage of my mid-life crisis? I went from feeling a little sexy to a little bit conflicted, and now feeling a little dead? It happened so fast I didn’t even find an appropriate outfit to wear to the funeral. But I guess the old gym pants will do. It’s how I lived, and I’m nothing if not consistent.

But now I’m just being dramatic. And I can tell already, my mother is hating this essay. Don’t worry, mom, it’s just a moment. This too shall pass, as my dead grandmother used to say. She’s looking at me now from a picture across the room; her head thrown back in joy, even with the shower cap on her head which she must have forgotten she was wearing when my husband snapped the picture, because there is no way she would be caught dead in a picture with a shower cap. Ah, the irony.

Gone two years now, she looks radiant, even in the cap, with me by her side and my three boys lined up like beautiful, dutiful progeny; the future, captured in the present which is now the past.

I miss her. I do. Even thinking it now brings that drippy sentimentality to my eyes making them leak at the edges. Looking around, I see some of her treasures glittering: a ceramic dog that was her mother’s, an ugly turn-of-the-century figurine couple mid step, pretty, useless little tea cups on display. There are other things, but that’s all they are. Things. And who needs them really, except that they were hers.

The real gift she left me was living long enough to have a real presence in my life. To make a difference in who I was and am. To have a voice so strong, I can still hear her throaty rasp so clearly…

“Get your head out of your arse and stop this nonsense!”

I smile. Already I feel warmer.

She’s got me thinking.

Going with the glamour hat over the shower cap. You're welcome, Grandma.

Going with the glamour hat over the shower cap. You’re welcome, Grandma.

Just a bad day

I’m cold.

I know it’s officially Spring, but the air is still crisp, and with the up and down temperatures this winter, my body has never adapted. I feel almost naked, and I hunker down in my coat as the wind whips my face. I have a ‘thing’ at the school that I’m in no mood for.  Just getting to the car leaves me chilled to the bone. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m going to have to do the Florida migration in a couple of years. My body really hates the cold.

I left the house annoyed and unhappy. I had a bad day and it leaked into my night. It was a repeat of the night before and possibly the one before that. It comes like that, in waves, and sometimes I just can’t shake it; my dark mood wrapped as tightly around my neck as my grey wool scarf. I don’t know why the things that I usually casually brush off won’t budge, like my shovel in wet, heavy snow. I don’t know why I let it all settle, deep in my gut. How can I feel so heavy, yet so empty?

It could have been the boys, just being boys, fighting, teasing, playing too rough. And me, being overwhelmed.

Or, it could have been the never-ending laundry, pile of dishes and errands. And me, being overwhelmed.

Or it could have been my depressed, dysfunctional, disabled father throwing his burden on my back, needing more and more of my energy and assistance. And me, being overwhelmed.

It could just be my nature. I’m prone to deep thinking, and it is not always my friend. There’s so much to appreciate and yet, life is death. It’s a cold slap of reality that I never fully realized till my mid to late thirties. And now, I’ve never felt so keenly aware of how vapor thin life is. How delicate. How a strong gust of wind can push someone over the edge, just like that.

I arrive at the school and watch the people walking past. Some walk purposefully, others stroll arm in arm with a spouses or friends. I close my eyes and rest my head back against the seat. The radio is talking news, talking weather, talking sports. It’s as soothing as a sound machine set to waterfall. I don’t want to get out of the safety of the car. I don’t want to put on a happy face.

But I know I will. I always do.

I shiver and pull my coat tightly around me. It’s really not even that bad out. They’re predicting milder temperatures tomorrow. I hope so. I really can’t wait to feel the sun.