Monday, January 17, 2011

Good Ol' Gramps & the Winter Blues


It's January. Mid-January and I feel myself being sucked into the winter blues. I'm not unprepared. I'm armed with herbal teas, lentil recipes, vitamins (Vit D 5000!), a hot yoga 10-card pass, and a writing life to wrangle. Still, I can't help feeling blue, its just the way my Icelandic, Irish, English, German, Slovenian, etc. etc. genetics made me, that and a lot of excessive youth-induced indulgences I'll admit. But, I'm so fucking clean I squeak these days and still, I find the only peace that comes with my daily non-grind is walking in any kind of winter weather until my nose goes numb and my cheeks turn to cherries. I know, poor me, boo-hoo these are such luxury problems! Right now I have the thing I've always wanted most: Time, and its giving me the crazies--of the bat shit category.
So, after spending a short span of time cooking an extremely healthful dinner for 1 (my honey was at a meeting this evening) I sat down to slug through blogs as a way to cope and pass away the time until my husband returns with new episodes of Dexter or the clock gets to a place where it seems ok I hit the hay. After some time updating a Reading Blog a friend and I just started, then updated my Blog Roll a bit here, I started to feel genuinely better, more connected and lighter. Why Oh why? I remembered that the other day I got an FB email from a former VCFA workshopper and responding I felt like I was a better writer, a smarter writer a well connected one too. Hah. None of this is true of course, but if success is a state of mind so is joy, right or at least feeling "OKAY," which for me means not wanting to off myself, okay, I'm kidding a little. (More on this later perhaps)
So, feeling a bit lighter I started looking at photos on my phone from Christmas break and I came across the above shared: Picture of My dear old Grandpa Roger. What a guy! It was his birthday in that photo and he was turning something in the mid-eighties I think. It was my grandpa's last Christmas and Birthday at his home on Perch Lake in Northern MN, across the lake from my parents. He decided on his own to go into an Assisted Living facility twenty miles or so away from his home. The family (an enormous one--he and Honey had 7 kids) thinks he was getting lonely (and of course, forgetful).
Reflecting back, I'm not really sure when Grandpa went from the big guy I sort of ran from to the old softy he is today. More than ten years ago my grandma, his wife Honey, started to suffer from Alzheimer's. The disease took her quickly, but she is still alive today, though she can't speak anymore really and it doesn't seem that she knows us. My dad always says, "We don't know, she could, what if she can, as long as that chance exists I want to be there for her." I agree, but I don't visit her. In my mind she exists the way she was before the disease took her. In my mind she has been gone a long time and she hasn't been gone at all. I do stop in once a year or so when I'm in MN, but for the most part her seven kids and some of the dozen plus grand kids who live in the area, stop to see her, care for, and so on. Grandpa Rog, however, for a long time now has been visiting her daily and I'm sure he'll continue to do so even at his new place. He goes to the nursing home where she lives now and takes her to dinner. Sits with her and feeds her.
I miss the days of after school at Grandma Honey's watching the Brady Bunch and cartoons, eating Little Debbies, hiding from Grandpa when he got home from work at the family Pharmacy, afraid of his big gruff voice. It seems funny to arrive here in a tiny Vermont apartment married, writing, trying to kick the winter blues. Kisses Honey and Rog!

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