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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Back to the Start

(With a lot of help from Coldplay’s “The Scientist”)

It hit me hard while driving back from visiting old friends tonight.

Tomorrow is goodbye.  For real.  For final.

Goodbye to my grandfather - and grandmother - both going back to the earth from which they came.  Goodbye to a house I’ve known all my life and lived in often throughout that life.  Goodbye to a home that brought together many, and held together many.  Goodbye to childhood and so very many memories.  Oh, sure, the memories will remain, at least to some extent, but often locked away, never to be touched by a familiar scent, a creaky wooden floor, the certain paths that lead to secret places that weren’t really secret but to a child they were the paths to entire worlds that no one else had ever seen or known.

Part of me is like a tiny child who can not - who will not be placated or reasoned with regardless of the tone or the presentation.  I go into this kicking and screaming and fighting and crying, “I’m not ready!  I don’t want to say goodbye!”  Reasoning and logic are useless for just like a small child, I can’t quite wrap myself, my innocent mind, my inexperienced soul around the ideas and the sensibility of the situation.  It’s not fair.  It’s scary and lonely and desperately difficult to deal with all this.

Part of me is a reasonably responsible thirty-one-year-old adult with three children who rely on and love her.  This part wants to be the solid rock, the placid lake, the cool waters that revive and nurture all those around her.  Though, how can I hold everyone else afloat when I’m drowning?  How can I hold my head high and carry myself tall when I feel this crushing weight of simply existing wearing me down and dragging me through dark places I’ve never truly stopped to see before?

Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are

I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart

Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh let’s go back to the start

Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on a silence apart

I came back to where I started, where I was born, where I grew up, where I learned, where I loved and where I’ve lost, to say goodbye; to close the doors that have always, always been open for me.  I came back to see my grandpa.  I wanted to talk to him.  I wanted to ask him questions.  I wanted to get a few of those last minute stories before he left.  I wanted to see his smile and feel that connection.  Just once more, I wanted him to tell me I looked like his mother - his imperfect mother who stood strong and made mistakes and played the role of a single mother long before that was common, long before it was even accepted.  I wanted to remind him of his past, the parts he loved, at least.  I wanted to hold his hand and have him know how much he had done, how very much he had helped shaped me.  I ... I wanted to ask him what it was like, was he scared, did he believe he’d see Grandma… would he… could he tell her I miss her?

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Aww take me back to the start

Nobody ever said it was fair.  Nobody ever said things would always be okay.  No one ever told me everything was gonna be alright, even when I wanted that, even when I was desperate to hear it knowing it was a lie.  Still, this is crushing.  I’m not ready, I say to myself.  But are we ever?  Was Grandpa really ready, or did we lie to ourselves?  Did we cheat him of a chance for a few more days, weeks, months, maybe even years?  Was he really ready to go?  Was he just so miserable that letting go was the easier choice? 

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling your puzzles apart

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start

Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

It seemed logical.  He was never going to have the quality of life anyone would want.  He wasn’t getting better and there was no sign that more time would grant him the opportunity to get better.  Even if he did get “better” there was only so much better he could get before he reached the “max” and that max was drearily low.  He did lead a long life.  Whether or not it was good is all relative and can only be measured in his own ways.  He was loved.  He was respected.  He helped anchor us, helped guide us down the right path and loved us even when we strayed from that path.  He told it like it was and when we didn’t like it, he didn’t sugar coat it, but when we gained his acceptance and praise, we knew we had really earned it and we were proud.  To have impacted so many lives how could his life be anything but productive?

Nobody said it was easy
Aww It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I’m goin’ back to the start

So in a matter of hours I will be headed back to where I was born, where I was raised, where I started, and where my grandfather will finally rest.  I will see Bobby Across the Street for the first time in many, many years, and I will say goodbye to him - finally and forever closing the door on any and all hopes of that path that I should have followed and didn’t.  I will see my parents and say goodbye to whatever hopes I had of them ever being the parents I have wanted and needed all these years.  I will say goodbye, finally, to childhood and innocence and freedom that only kids know.  I will say goodbye to the only *home* I ever really knew growing up, the only *home* I have come back to in all these years I have been away, and I know, without a doubt, that by the time I next come back that house will no longer be a home I can come back to.  My grandparents will never welcome me with open arms - or at all - ever again.  Once their mingled ashes are scattered across the mountain I will have finally said goodbye to their bodies, if not their souls.  Many dreams, many hopes, many ideas and goals that I have had (secret and not-so-secret) will be laid to rest today.  Forever. 

I started out this life with little more than family and my own will to go on.  In all this, I am back to that very same thing, only instead of the family tree moving backward toward the roots, I realize now that I will have to become the one who is rooted and planted firmly in the ground, my little branches and their little leaves relying on me moving forever forward, now.  Whatever home I have from here on out will be solely of my own making.  Those who came before me, those who have nurtured and nourished me, will only be faintly passed on down the line by way of my nourishing and nurturing, until my children and their children can root themselves and carry on in my place.

Back to the start.

Posted by Mommy on 07/17 at 01:11 AM
Posted under: See-ThroughThe Soundtrack

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Krush  at  07/17/05 09:24 PM

Love and hugs coming your way. What a wonderful tribute to your grandparents. I am so sorry for your loss. I’m here if you need me.

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mamaerica  at  07/18/05 01:22 PM

You have such a way with words….you’re able to write what so many people have felt but couldn’t find the words.  It’s wonderful.  I’m thinking of you, sweetie!

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