Please find Grampi, where ever you both are, and show him the ropes. Tell him that everything will be ok.
Last year: blizzard. This year, 50 degrees and barely any snow. I am in the dark place… and I don’t feel like crawling out right now. I know you don’t want me to be sad and there are so many things to be happy about; I just can’t find them right now. This is a week of no sleep, the “over and over” playlist and squeezing out every memory I can of where we were 1 year ago.
Wicket wanted me to tell you that he misses you. He doesn’t understand why he has to be home alone and why you haven’t come back to your room or the recliner. He says he likes laying in between my legs, but he really misses yours.
This was the last dinner we had with you: me & Jake, you and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, & Rob and Bre. We went to the Reel Club and ate tons of parmesan popovers. None of us knew it would be the last, except maybe you. That weekend, you made it a point to have dinner with all of your children and their families, something different from the other times you’ve gone into surgery. It was the last.
I can see your hand in the second picture. Yes, you were there.
I conquered New Years! Barbara and Stanley joined us this year, which was fun. Barbara was impressed that I knew how to cook for the new year, and Grandpa was really happy about the daikon! I think you would’ve been proud of me.
Thanks for the nice weather, too. It makes up for the lengthy cold we endured last year after you passed away. Give Mom some luck this weekend so her and Butthead don’t collectively lose everything they own.
One year ago we were in your kitchen cooking together for New Years. It was nearly 60 degrees outside, unseasonal for Chicago, and it was raining. New Years was your holiday; you were the only one who knew how to cook all of the traditional dishes, and you unknowingly taught me. No one knew it was the last New Year we’d spend with you. No one knew it was the last time we’d taste food the way you made it.
I am going to do my best, through a lot of taste testing, to make everything your way. I made three things last night and left the harder things for today. I am not going out tonight or having people over because I’m pretty certain, at some point, I might start crying. We’re all going to do our best without you here, though it will definitely not be the same.
I hope I make Grandpa T’s daikon taste the way you did. Dashi, shoyu & sugar, right?
Three days ago, it was my 29th birthday, my first birthday without you. I remembered that, in previous years, you would say “Happy Birthday” in your way, and I thought about the one year you told me, “And I said to your mother, ‘Thank you for making me a grandma,’” because I was your first grandchild. Grandpa included you in the birthday card he gave me last week, saying, “Grandma loved you very much.”
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, our first without you. I had been crabby and angry for a couple days prior to; I thought about last year when you came upstairs to try the stuffing I had made. You said, “Very good!”
This year I didn’t make stuffing; I made cranberry sauce, your pickles, and the Parmesan popovers from The Reel Club. Mom made your sweet potatoes and chestnut gravy. I told her that I was crabby and sad that you weren’t here this year. She said Dad was sad, too. I like to believe that you were happy, though, seeing Auntie and Uncle celebrating with us, and all the laughs we had. Grandpa T was charmingly “old” - he jokingly threatened to poke us with his cane if we got too sassy, he gave Auntie a worse time than she usually gives him, Auntie farted on Uncle’s hand, something that had me laughing to tears.
In other news, I got picked up as a commercial photographer for Getty Images. They’ll sell my photos for commercial use, and I’ll make pocket change for it, but I’m proud that my photos are getting out there. I still hate Fridays, and I still miss you every single day. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving where ever you are.
“Oh jeez. You got another one?!”
I know, I know. But this one’s really special. This one outweighs the others by a long shot in importance, meaning, beauty, and love. This one’s for you, something you loved (the loon feathers), a color you loved (purple), and something I loved about you (your ability to care for and your admiration of orchids). This one makes me a little less sad when I look at it and it hurt a helluva lot less when I got it. This one has helped me start to really feel better because it’s so final; it’s stuck underneath my skin when I look at my left shoulder, the softness of the orchids and the brilliance of their color gently hugging the top of my arm. And underneath them, as if they were leaves, the delicate black and white feathers with their trademark four white dots curve under my tricep, and a tiny one in such a small place I have to strain to see it. This tattoo ensures that I can always have you with me for the rest of my [literal] life.
I love you, and I miss you, but today I hurt a little less.