Dear Grandma Chris,
It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I first decided to write you a letter on my birthday. It seems a little bit, well, nuts, to write to someone who doesn’t exist anymore. But because you were the only person who ever consistently remembered (or cared about) my birthday, and this week being forever associated with the beginning of the end for you…Oh, and the divorce being final in 2 weeks too … it is inevitable that I will struggle emotionally.
And boy, am I struggling.
So, even though I am sure the fact that I am writing to a ghost is kind of crazy, I don’t care. Because it’s the only way I can really process it all – to talk to you as if you are here.
For the sake of accuracy, we probably wouldn’t be having a deep and meaningful conversation. I’d probably be refusing your offer of food for the 8th time (Seriously, no, I just ate and am not hungry… no, I don’t want you to cook me a meal. And no, that is not code for “I just want cake”. Or biscuits. Or lasagna. I am just not hungry!)
I’d also probably try to explain to you that the political rhetoric you heard on talkback radio was more complex than it seems, and watch you rant about something that you had clearly gotten the wrong end of the stick about, with me trying hard not to laugh.
Because you and I both know that if I dared to smirk at you, even affectionately, I’d be in big trouble. I’d be yelled at, held responsible for every other member of my family and everything else they had ever done… and… well… yeah.
Don’t laugh at Grandma when she’s been watching Today Tonight, because she may tell you to fuck off and change her phone number.
Ah, the eggshells.
Right now, I kind of miss them. Because I get it now. You just held me to a different standard to the others: you cared what I thought of you. And it hurt you when you thought I was judging you. I wasn’t. You’re just piss funny when you’re angry.
It is only as I grow up and experience the complexities of adult life, relationships, love, decisions… and make my own complex decisions (and mistakes), that I have started to realise: love is not as simple as I thought.
Now I am the one who needs to be talked down from my own simplistic ideas about what it means. Because not only can people hurt you and love you at the same time, sometimes they hurt you because they love you.
Heh, the irony. I’m the one who got the wrong end of the stick this time and bought into rhetoric.
I recently made the decision to leave the kids in Perth and move to Sydney. The plan is to visit frequently and bring Angus back on alternate months (and the older 2 for school holidays), but because that is dependent on a steady flow of WA work (which is proving harder than we thought it would be)… it has been really tough.
Every day, I hope that I made the right decision.
You always appear in a dream to me, with the answer to a dilemma. If I need to find a solution, or a direction, or make a decision (I know it’s not really you – it’s just a representation of my subconscious trying to communicate important things I need to stop and listen to…), you are there to make me listen… and you told me to pursue this.
I hope you’re right.
Last year, I was at a point where I was actively dating, getting “the marriage” out of my system, and had my fair share of hurt. Well, needless to say, I continue to be baffled about men and this year, I am going to just… wash over that issue completely and just say that I understand the complexities of love. And that is all I am going to say on that subject…
Anyway, so, it’s my 33rd birthday. I know 33 is not old, but to be honest I feel kind of old and tired… mostly because I am not too good when I feel like I am in flux, because of my anxiety issues. I can’t help but feel like… I am back where I was at 16. And at least, back then, I had you to fall back on. Now, I am on my own, in a new place. It is terrifying. It is stressful. And I frequently struggle with the overwhelming feelings of failure that go with everything that has happened.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there were times in the last few months where I have, quite seriously, and quite clinically, considered ending it. Don’t worry, I won’t. Because fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it…) I am also stubborn. And proud. And would never, ever, do that to my children. So, I am stuck here, having to fight.
Looks like there’s a bit more of you in me than I care to admit. You know, having no choice but to… just keep swimming. Let the shit roll over me and to just keep moving forward and trying to see the positives and the lessons in everything. And I will. And like the grief that I felt would never end when you died, it will get easier. I just have to put one foot in front of the other.
Wouldn’t hurt to feel loved for a bit, though, even if it was by being stuffed with food and told off for smirking.
I miss you. I love you. And I hope that next year, things are a little better.
High five St Peter for me,