Monday, July 25, 2011

Wedding planning

I know I rarely, if at all, post on the blog. Here's something for the fans out there:

Thursday, July 21, 2011


On the radio this morning, the jockeys were talking about grandparents, and loss and absence thereof (when I tuned in, the conversation was specifically about grandparents and weddings). This will sound harsh, but let me explain: I don't often dwell on my grandparents. Firstly, I only have one remaining--my dad's mom. My mom's parents have been gone for longer than feels real--my grandpa passed away from Leukemia when I was about 13, and my grandma passed away from Alzheimer's when I was about 18. I never knew my dad's dad. With the maternal set, it was scary to watch them deteriorate over a number of years, and especially so with my grandma because she was living alone, and we were so far away.

Leukemia was scary, but I was too young to really understand it, I think. It was more, "Grandpa is sick, and he will probably not get better," according to my brain. I distinctly remember when my aunt called that he had passed, and probably always will. It was the first death I can remember. My grandma was tough. It started with depression, and whether it was the Alzheimer's or not at that point, it just went downhill from there. It terrified me because my mom had a relationship with her mom like the one my mom and I have--extraordinarily close, and I, too, was very close to my grandma. It was totally awful to watch my mom and aunts go through that much worry and pain. Of course, we all "had time to prepare" in both cases, but that doesn't really mean or help much when it comes right down to it: no matter how much time, it's never enough, and you're never prepared.

My dad's mom is in her late 80s, and has been blind from diabetes for a handful of years. In a way, it's easy because we're far away so we're not in the thick of it all, but at the same time, it's a rather crippling feeling to be so far removed from the rest of my dad's family.

This has all been on my mind more than usual in the last year as we've been planning the wedding. Growing up, you always assume everyone will be there for your greatest moments of happiness, but then reality reminds you that sometimes that can't be. Sometimes I get very sad and overwhelmed at the prospect of not having my maternal grandparents there, and having my paternal grandmother there, but overwhelmed by the noise, and unable to see me walk down the aisle. She has never seen John. A funny, but sad, memory is of her saying hello to him at my college graduation party--she kissed his cheek and said, "Oh, you have a beard?"

My mom's mom would have loved John, and I know he'd've found her to be a riot. I'm sure he's heard enough stories and seen enough photos to kind of get a sense of knowing her, but it will never be the same.

I am very grateful to have a wonderful and loving relationship with John's family, and his grandparents took me in as their own from day 1--something I have both craved, but also had mixed feelings about. So much of his grandparents, his family in general, feels like my own family--maybe it's because both his family and mine grew up on Staten and Long Island, respectively. It's such a close-knit community where everyone's aunts and uncles all lived within a short drive of each other, and where Sunday BBQs were a given. This has helped me cope with losing and, in a sense, regaining grandparents, but I do still sometimes find myself feeling tremendously sad when I'm in their company because I wish John could come to my grandparents' home for dinners and gatherings. It's the whole idea of feeling alone in a crowded room, or looking into someone else's window from outside.

I know this is kind of all over the place, but I just wanted to commit some of this to writing. Speaking of writing, my grandparents remain one subject I cannot write about in poetry. I haven't quite figured out why yet, but when I try and channel the feelings into a poem, it's like my mind locks up, and nothing comes. I guess I still have healing to do, and I probably always will to a degree.

So, that's all. This is just to serve as a cosmic "hello" and "I miss you" to Stella and Edwin.