I have absolutely nothing nice to say about this last 2 weeks. Today will be a better day. In the meantime, I thought a kick at the Daily Writing Prompt might be in order- and then I saw what it was… “Erasure- You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?”
Well crap. I don’t even know where to start with that. I was a monster heathen child, and a monster heathen teen, and I really believe that somewhere in there was one, pivotal decision that set me on the road to where I am today. Not that where I am today is necessarily horrible, but I have some…er… regrets. There are a few decisions that I might have made differently knowing what I know now. Most of those decisions have names. Underage drinking, drugs, sex… If I were going to take one particular incident and remove it from the mix, which one would make a difference? I don’t know.
Maybe I don’t have to work with my own decisions. If we’re going to mess with the course of history here, I’d like to make it count.
My grandmother died when I was 17. She was one of the most important influences in my life. She was my other parent, and filled in everywhere and any time my mom or dad couldn’t. I spent the summers there running wild in the creek and playing in the bush with the other kids that lived nearby, and when I was 13- the stress at home was too much (the bad decisions were beginning, and mom’s second husband wasn’t making life very easy for any of us). She took me in without hesitation. We were close enough that we fought like crazy and she did her level best to make sure I felt really really terrible about getting into trouble- which didn’t stop me, but I felt really really terrible anyway. Her presence in my life filled in all the extra space- she was always there when I needed her. She was an amazing woman. And then one day, she was just gone. She wasn’t feeling well, couldn’t shake it, and died of pneumonia in her sleep one afternoon. She was found in her bed the next day when we had to send someone to check on her- the phone had been off the hook.
The sudden vacuum left behind by loss was staggering. There was a big ragged hole in me that I couldn’t fill with anything. I didn’t even know what to feel- only that I had to stuff something in that hole before it killed me. So I drank and I partied and I rampaged around like a total brat and with every thoughtless act and somebody-elses-boyfriend, I cauterized the bleeding wound a little more. I did not grieve her. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know that the longer I waited, the harder it would be. That one day, all the garbage and stupidity I had crammed in to numb the pain would rot and fall out and leave the emptiness bigger than before.
That day came. I was trying to snuggle my screaming, squalling, colicky infant son and I started singing him every song I could think of. And as I ran out of anything else, I came to the songs that she taught me when I was little. “Springtime in the Rockies”, “You are my sunshine”… oddly “The Anniversary Waltz” shut him up just in time for me to completely and totally come undone. I held on to my tiny little human and I cried and cried. She would never get to hold him- he would never hear her sing to him or play the guitar. The big willow tree in front of her house- I think it died the same day she did- he would never climb in the yard and hear her squawk at him to stop pulling the branches. I see the pictures of her holding me when I was a baby- we were both so happy to have each other.
If I could erase anything, I would take that day. Whatever she touched to pick up the germ. Or the day the support staff at the clinic decided to strike and kept her from seeing her doctor. Whatever the moment was that resulted in losing her. That’s what I would change. To have her here.
So far this morning only one other post on the daily prompt-