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That kind of evening, I'm afraid. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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That kind of evening, I'm afraid. [Feb. 14th, 2011|09:41 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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I have always observed Valentine's Day with various people in my life--not just as a romantic love holiday, but as an excuse to give little people stickers and let older folks know I'm thinking of them and like that. Love is for everybody, and my family is a holidaying sort of family. Arbor Day, Syttende-Mai, collect 'em all. We are not theological syncretists much, most of us, but holiday syncretists, oh yes. Give us your cookies, your candles, your lucky money envelopes yearning to breathe free. We're totally there.

But I can't help but remember now that Valentine's Day was the day my grandpa went into the hospital, that last time. He didn't die until over a month later, the day before St. Patrick's Day. I never much liked corned beef and cabbage. I was so glad to have it the day Grandpa died, because it was a symbol of my aunt Kathy loving us and taking care of us, but ever since then the prospect of it makes my stomach revolt, because the smell refers back to not only Grandpa's loss but the day Gran died thirteen years earlier and the college cafeteria had the wretched stuff, and that wasn't anybody taking care of me at all.

And tonight the thaw refreezing smelled a particular way, when I opened the door to let the dog out, that recalled a March visit to Sioux Falls when I was very small, when we took Gran out for Chinese food, after Grandpa had discovered he liked Chinese food, and I walked out to the car with my dad and whacked my head into his hand for affection and he scruffed my hair and it was me and Daddy and Grandpa, walking to the car in the refreezing night, not a memory of anything, just a memory, keeping up with big strides on little legs, being together, Andes mint on my tongue. I know not everybody has that kind of vivid sense memory, but I do, and sometimes I don't know how I'd find my way through time without them.

[User Picture]From: rosefox
2011-02-15 04:44 am (UTC)
I spent a bit of tonight reminiscing about my grandparents. It's a good day for that, I guess.

(Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of my grandmother's death. Family myth is that she died on the 13th so as not to spoil Valentine's Day for us. And today would have been my great-grandmother's 110th birthday, more or less.)

I'm glad you have those vivid memories. They do sometimes help keep people alive in a way, and not, you know, a creepy zombie way.

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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-02-15 01:01 pm (UTC)
I feel particularly lucky that I have not only childhood memories but also adult memories of my grandparents and even a few of my great-grandmothers. Remembering what it's like to be 4 and slip your hand trustingly into your grandpa's as you go off to the bookstore is a wonderful thing, but to be able to put that memory beside one of sharing books back and forth with him at 30 is something a lot of people don't get.
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From: athenais
2011-02-15 07:24 am (UTC)
Occasionally some combination of scent and breeze will tug a long-forgotten memory out and shock me a little. I'll be in awe of how much detail I remember. But it tends to fade even as I'm remembering it.

Grief just sucks.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-02-15 08:36 am (UTC)
It's those smells that will get you every time.

Sending all my love (like the Linear song!).
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[User Picture]From: cathshaffer
2011-02-15 01:53 pm (UTC)
Very nice. I feel like I was there. You should be a writer or something!
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[User Picture]From: juliansinger
2011-02-15 04:02 pm (UTC)
I have very vivid sense memories. Usually sound not scent, but sometimes scent.

And grief is hard. I'm sorry it's being particularly hard just now.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2011-02-16 01:14 am (UTC)
My mom went into the hospital on New Year's Eve and died a little more than a month later, one day after my Dad's birthday. I think next year's holidays are going to be kind of weird.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-02-16 12:42 pm (UTC)
They would have been anyway, but yes, even more so now. I'm sorry for your loss.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2011-02-17 12:59 am (UTC)
Thank you very much.
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