Memories light the corners of my mind…

“I miss her all the time. I know in my head that she has gone. The only difference is that I am getting used to the pain. It’s like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it’s there and keep falling in. After a while, it’s still there, but you learn to walk round it.”― Rachel JoyceThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

This afternoon I was baking gingerbread cookies with my children (before you get the wrong idea about me, let me say, it was all Betty Crocker) when a memory came to mind taking me back to the time I baked Gingerbread Men, four or five or six Christmas’s ago, for my grandmother, and the old folks who were trapped in the rehabilitation hospital with her over the holidays. I remember lamenting to my husband that I was probably going to get into trouble again because at least half of those old folks (including my grandmother) were diabetic. Which is when he casually made the comment that perhaps I should make them anatomically correct just to ensure my prediction.

Of course, true to form, I took him up on that suggestion—and as usual I took it a little too far. 😉 It was mostly harmless…I figured I’d bring a little cheer to what was a shitty situation…

A little back story: The holidays are the loneliest time in those places because family members are often busier than normal and thus make it in to visit less. I knew this from nearly a decade of watching my grandmother go in and out as I was her advocate and made medical decisions for her when she couldn’t—which required that I be there a lot. When old people become ill (my grandma had COPD) and are bedridden for several days they often need weeks of physical therapy just to get back to the norm it takes to be able to live on their own again. Thus the frequent stays.

But, anyway, back to the anatomically correct cookies…most people loved them. Particularly, the old men. There were a few ladies who were appalled—which was to be expected. But the highlight of it all was seeing my grandmother’s pride over her obscene and inappropriate granddaughter—combined with the attention it brought from the old men. 🙂

It’s a good memory. A holiday memory that finally didn’t completely sucker punch me. It was this thought I was contemplating when my favorite niece called to tell me about her birthday party and to request that I not embarrass her “because there are going to be cute boys there.”

I explained that it is my duty to embarrass her.

What I’d wanted to say was that this is because her dad isn’t here to do it. But I didn’t. It’s not like she doesn’t know. Then she told me about her grades and a letter she received from Duke University but how she already has plans to go to Harvard Medical School so she can become an emergency room physician. I told her how proud I am. I wanted to tell her that her dad would be the proudest of us all— but I didn’t.

I don’t have to.

I know she knows.

Which was the sucker punch I hadn’t seen coming.

Sometimes life is funny that way.

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