‘On sleepless roads, the sleepless go’

“There’s no one in town I know
You gave us someplace to go.
I never said thank you for that.
I thought I might get one more chance.”

— Jimmy Eat World, “Hear You Me”

Today would have been my grandfather’s birthday. It’s his first one away from us. I’m fine now but I anticipate going slightly berserk later in the day because, well, I do that every day when I start to miss him, anyway.

I would no doubt have driven up to Pennsylvania to see him. I probably would have done it unannounced, pretending I was busy down here but then meeting him and Mom at a restaurant. Last year, I sat down beside him in a booth and scared the hell out of him. But he was thrilled. He always hugged me so hard, he called it “squeezing the stuffing” out of me.

I miss those hugs.

“What would you think of me now,
So lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said thank you for that,
Now I’ll never have a chance.”

Mom and I always feel like we stopped missing my grandmother as much, once my grandfather was gone. His loss is fresher, and he was it, you know? Everything that resembled our life died with him. Everything has changed — nothing feels sacred or even right anymore.

But when I was in New York last weekend, I was telling my mom about going to Junior’s, which I did every day of my trip (incidentally, I watched the Food Network tape an episode of “Good Eats” there on Tuesday), and I was swooning over chocolate and vanilla egg creams. I’d never had one in my life and I didn’t even look for it on the menu, but I asked for it on a whim and absolutely loved it.

Mom told me that it astounds her sometimes, how much my grandmother comes through me. That was one of her favorite things in the world when she was younger, and I guess she used to get them in all kinds of flavors. Anyway, I cried a whole bunch after Mom told me that — it made me happy to have some connection to my grandmother, and sad that all we have left are these little, random moments and memories that we cobble together.

“And if you were with me tonight,
I’d sing to you just one more time.
A song for a heart so big,
God wouldn’t let it live.”

I know I’m just an ordinary girl who’s facing the same losses that the rest of the world does, too, but other people get to grieve and move on with their lives. And we can’t seem to master that last part.

Maybe I’m selfish, but I’m always looking for signs that he’s crossed over successfully, that he’s OK where he is. But my psychic vibes fail me now when I need them most. Mom still thinks he’s going to come back to us — not just as a spirit, but that time is going to rewind itself and this is all going to be such a huge mistake that can be undone. God, how I wish.

In going through his things, Mom found a note he had written her, in case anything happened to him — we’re not sure when it was from, but given that those incompetents at the VA Hospital have been screwing him over for 50 years, I guess he was being realistic.

The letter was addressed to her and said, very simply, “You and (Goddess) need to go on to have a good life. Show ’em all how it’s done.” We just wish he was able to have a good life of his own.

OK, what I said about going berserk later on? That time has now come. *sob*

Happy Birthday, Grampy. Love you bunches.

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