Today is The Day of the Dead, otherwise known as Día de los Muertos. It is a day to remember and pray for beloved family and friends who have died. I thought maybe I’d slow down and reflect on some loved ones who are gone.
First, of course, is my mom. It’s been 4 1/2 years since she died, and of course, I still miss her every day. I miss our long conversations, and I wish she were still here. I don’t miss her being sick, and all of the stress that that gave me. Mostly, I think about all of the things that she’s missing by not being here. Pomegranates and persimmons are in season right now, and she loved them both. Thanksgiving is coming up soon, and for several years, she worked for Catholic Community Services in Juneau, working to help people keep their children, when they were at risk of losing them due to child abuse. She would train them in better ways of managing stress and anger, and give them parenting skills. It was a job that she loved, but which was SO exhausting and often depressing for her. While at that job, she had a lot of vacation time, and she would take off a month this time of year and come to California. She would spend a week with my Grandma and Great Aunt, a week with me, a week with her friend Kate, and then another week with my Grandma and Great Aunt. It seems strange to me for it to be Autumn, with the days shortening, and not have her visit to look forward to. Gosh, I wish she could see how popular ‘The Big Bang Theory” has gotten. She <i>loved</i> that show from the very beginning. I miss you, mom. If you were wrong, and there is a life after death, I hope you’re happy and healthy and well. If you were right, and there isn’t, then at least I’m glad you’re not sick and suffering any more, and you live forever in my heart. Sigh.
Next is my Grandpa. He died in the spring of ’88, and I still miss him quite often. He was a difficult man to like, but sometimes easy to love. He used to make me chocolate cake, and we’d watch horse races together.
Then there’s Ted’s father, Pops. He died in November of ’93, which is SO long ago now, but it feels like yesterday. Ted and I were newlyweds, and that was the first big deal thing we had to deal with as a couple. He was ill for a while before he died…not bedridden by any means, but he was slowing down mightily. It was very difficult for him, because he was a man who loved to be busy. Ted and I were talking about him yesterday, and how he loved his job, loved working, so much, that when he finally retired (after having a stroke left him unable to perform surgery), he had about 2 YEARS worth of vacation time banked. So he basically went on vacation for 2 years, and THEN retired. Crazy, huh? I have a fond memory of him teaching me to calypso dance, and the many parties that we had at his house.
My Great-Grandma, my Mom’s Grandmother, was the first big loss I suffered. She was such a loving and sweet woman. She died in November of ’87, just after her 88th birthday. I remember going to visit her and my Great Aunt (Aunt Flo, who now lives with my Grandma) in Modesto as a kid. She was always busy with crocheting. Actually, not crochet, but some kind of needlework that I don’t remember, where you pull the yarn through a pattern, and make a pretty wall hanging or maybe rug. I’m not a crafty person, never have been, but I always admired her dedication and her love of the craft.
My other Grandfather, who I never met. I met my father when I was 21, my sisters when I was 22, and my father was going to take me to meet my grandparents soon, when my Grandfather died. I met my Grandmother for the first time at her husband’s funeral. My dad had told them about me, though, and I was welcomed into the family with open arms. I do wish I had been able to meet him…he seemed like a great guy. I wish my only memory of him weren’t him in his coffin.
Last, of course, I have to remember my sweet dogs, Genevieve and Samantha. Genevieve, I miss her so much every day. I still cry quite often, thinking of her. She was such a sweet funny girl, and we often talk about funny things she did, and how she made our lives richer by being here. Going for long walks with me, spinning and digging and laughing when she was excited. How delicate and pretty she looked after being groomed. How ruffian and scruffy she looked after sleeping in the mud. How bad her breath smelled sometimes. How she would follow me from room to room, even after she went blind. How she unplugged my computer from the monitor, causing me to think maybe I was going blind as well. Samantha, who was my childhood dog. I got her when she was just a puppy, and had her until she was 16. She grew up with me, moved to California with me, kept me company when we would move YET AGAIN and I would have to go out and make new friends. Easier done with a faithful dog by your side. She died in 1988, the same spring that my Grandfathers both died. It was a difficult time.
I’m thinking of all of you today, remembering good times that we had together. I miss you terribly, but as long as I live, you will always be in my heart.