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I hate the second week of March. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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I hate the second week of March. [Mar. 9th, 2015|04:22 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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Today I’m wearing the shirt I bought when my grandpa was dying.


There are drawbacks to having a very sticky memory, and this is one of them: Grandpa died six years ago, and I have never once worn this shirt without thinking of the circumstances of its purchase. It’s a lovely bottle green, it’s a fabulous color for me, the fabric is soft…but it is permanently the shirt that I bought when my grandpa was dying.


I sometimes think that after six years I should stop having this lurching vertiginous feeling every time we do something with my side of the family and I’m in charge of making the reservations or buying the tickets or whatever. Every time–every single time–I have a horrible moment of conviction that I have reserved (or bought or whatever) the wrong number. And my brain doesn’t forget at those times. It’s not that I have moments of thinking Grandpa is still alive. Because what I invariably think is, “Where’s Grandpa going to sit?” So the thing in my brain that lurches like that knows that it’s Grandpa missing. But it happens every time, and it’s not tied to a number. My brain knows that we are different numbers at different times. We’re just…always one less than we’re supposed to be, whether we’re four or five or six or seven or…I don’t know, it could get up to seven billion, I suppose, and it’s still seven billion but no seat reserved for Grandpa.


I hate the second week of March.


And it’s not just Grandpa; Gran died on the same day as he did. I have this sense of doom every March. It’s good to keep an eye on that sort of thing so that you don’t mistake it for actual knowledge, and I’ve had this same sense of doom last year and the year before and so on, with no actual doom attached. My dark forebodings should not be reinforced with confirmation bias. The people I love who are going through tough medical things are not any likelier to have a hard time because of my feelings about early March.


Still and all. I am always glad when we get through this bit.




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2015-03-09 09:33 pm (UTC)
Wow, I can't believe it's been six years. So much time and also none at all.

May the week and month treat you gently, and beyond.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-09 09:45 pm (UTC)
It's because we've now known each other for ten million years, is why.
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[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2015-03-09 10:54 pm (UTC)
We have! And I am making company chicken for dinner tonight. <3
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-10 12:44 am (UTC)
Hurrah! I made it last week.
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2015-03-09 10:17 pm (UTC)
I know that feeling that someone is missing. *Hugs*
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2015-03-09 10:25 pm (UTC)
I hope you won't think I'm being strange or flippant when I say that your grandparents had one of the greatest blessings two human beings can have. chorale and I have been together for just under 30 years (we're celebrating our 30th year of cohabitation by seeing Age of Ultron on opening day), and we've thought for many years about the Greek story of Baucis and Philemon, the poor couple who gave the best of what they had to three visitors who, unknown to them, were gods, and who, granted a wish, asked that they would die at the same time, so neither would be left without the other.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-10 12:45 am (UTC)
I see why Baucis and Philemon asked for that, but I'm really glad we've gotten to keep Grandma for another six years and counting, and I think Grandpa would be glad too.
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2015-03-10 12:53 am (UTC)
Oh, my misunderstanding. I thought by "the same day" you meant, literally, the same day; it seems you meant the same calendar date, which didn't even occur to me as an interpretation.

Or are you saying your grandmother has not died yet? ". . . another six years and counting . . ." seems to imply that, in which case long life to her.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-10 01:04 am (UTC)
Gran was Grandpa's mom, not his wife. She died thirteen years before he did on the same calendar date.

Grandma is still alive.

I see that this is not intuitive usage, that "Gran" and "Grandma" are not the same person or that "Gran" was necessarily a great-grandmother rather than a grandmother. And actually I picked up calling her "Gran" from my mom, whose grandmother she was.

I'm very lucky. I got to keep Gran until I was 17 and Great-Grandma Lingen until I was in my twenties, and by 17 I had left for college already, so this really qualifies as getting to know two of my great-grandmothers more or less as an adult. Even if it was only a tiny sliver of adult with Gran.

(I don't have a Gran icon, alas; all of my icons are more recent than 1996.)
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2015-03-10 02:11 am (UTC)
Ah. No, I think of "Gran" as obviously short for "Grandmother," not for "Great-grandmother." Of course my great-grandmothers were gone before I was born, as far as I know; at any rate I have no memory of ever seeing them. My mother was her mother's fifth and last, and I was born when she was thirty, so there was a big gap. But still, I've always before encountered "Gran" as meaning "Grandmother," shortened from "Granny."

In my particular clan, though, everyone called my mother's mother "Mom," including all the grandchildren. I'm not sure what my cousins called their mothers; my sister and I called ours by her first name. Family nomenclature can be really nonstandard, eh?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-10 03:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't actually call Great-Grandma Lingen "Great-Grandma Lingen" most of the time, I just called her "Grandma Lingen." I know great-grandparents who are "GG" (for Great-Grandma) or "Mamaw" or heaven knows what. One of my aunts-in-law has decided that she is "Mimi" to her grandkids. Hard to predict.
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2015-03-09 10:54 pm (UTC)
That's hard; I hope knowing what your brain is doing will help make it easier to get through this week.
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[User Picture]From: teadog1425
2015-03-09 10:55 pm (UTC)
Hugs, and sending solidarity to you - my similar time is end of Aug (when we lost my Grandpa) and end of Sept (when I lost my Marco), but I try to off-set it with the good echoes, eg end of March when Jazzy came home with me! There are a lot of tough medical procedures about at the moment and it is hard to be able to do nothing... Hugs again!
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[User Picture]From: rosefox
2015-03-09 11:46 pm (UTC)
<3
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2015-03-10 02:25 am (UTC)
I am not such a big fan of March, myself. Never knew all my grandparents, great-grandparents were decades gone before I came along. It seems remarkable to me that you knew yours. Remarkable and lucky.
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[User Picture]From: elisem
2015-03-10 03:18 am (UTC)
:quiet Scandasotan supportiveness:
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2015-03-11 04:06 am (UTC)
I imagine that I understand why brains evolved to permanently attach negative associations to whatever was around when something bad happened. Regardless, it sucks.

There is a plum tree in my back yard that was in glorious bloom the day my mom died (4 years ago). It stays in bloom for several weeks. I see it from where I sit at my computer, and every time I see the blooms I think of her. So every year since then it has been a long month.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-03-11 11:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I bet. I'm sorry. Brains.
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