Studying Stones


Today’s prompt for the FMS Photo a Day was “Sweet.”
Sept 10: sweet
My lunch was sweet. Today has a hint of bitter to it.

Three years ago in August, my Oma died, just shy of her 93rd birthday. Today she would have been 96.

And for some reason today it’s hitting me hard. The first year was hard, of course; we’d just lost her after 4 years of prolonged illness and suffering, during which she’d gone to the brink and come back so many times we didn’t know how to grieve any more. After she died it didn’t hit me until Thanksgiving: we visited Opa and I just kept expecting her to wander down the hallway, talking about how wonderful the food her daughter had cooked smelled.

She didn’t, and that’s when I sort of really realized she was dead.

Grieving came in fits and spurts. Mostly I was fine, but then a day would come where I would be non-functional and weepy all day because I just missed my mom’s mom so much.

Eventually the time between those days stretched, and I came to a point in my life where I wasn’t grieving anymore. I missed her, but I was no longer incredibly sad. I knew she was fine, wherever she was, and I was fine too.

Until today.

I think it’s because Ogre and I have set the date for our wedding — two years and a month, roughly, from today — and now that I’m starting to gather the disparate threads of wedding ideas into actual planning…it’s hitting me that Oma won’t be there to see me marry Ogre. It’s hitting me that she never met Ogre — I met him right after she died — so I don’t even know what she would have thought of him. (Opa and my Uncle were happy to see I’d finally met a good man.)

And there’s more to it — I’m actually graduating in January. Finally, with my Bachelor’s, after 10 years of work at it. I’ll be walking across the stage in a silly hat and really warm polyester robe and I’ll be getting the piece of paper that makes those ten years of torture worth it.

Those were the two things I always wanted her to see. My graduation and my wedding. Even when I wasn’t planning on getting married, I had this vague thought that if I met someone I wanted to do the whole wedding and marriage thing with, I would want her there.

So today I’ve thought of ways I can honor her spirit at those events. There are already ideas out there for honoring your Beloved Dead at wedding ceremonies. For graduation, it’s customary to go out to a meal afterwards, in celebration (I think). Even if this meal ends up being a sit-down at Wendy’s because we can’t afford anything else, I’m going to set a place for Oma.

In the meantime, music gets me through the oh so bittersweet day.

'course numb is an old hat
old as my oldest memories
see that one's my mother
and that one's my father
and that one in the hat, that's me
it's a skill i'd hoped to abandon 
when i got out on the open road 
but any more pent up emotion 
and i think i'm gonna explode

Studying Stones, Ani DiFranco, Knuckle Down