November and December

November and December

I sit here in anticipation of the days that bring me down.

My mother’s birthday is less than a week away. She would have turned 66 this year. This will be the fifth birthday she’s missed since she died.

The anniversary of my grandfather’s death is about a week later. He’s been gone eight years. I never need to count the years – I simply look to my son who missed sharing this earth with his great-grandfather by about six weeks.

December hosts both my grandmother’s birthday and her deathday. The last time I saw her she had just turned 75. Twelve days later she was dead. That was sixteen years ago. I’ve almost accepted that the last time I saw her we argued. I still think she was being unreasonable and I’m sure, if we could ask her, she would still think I was being disrespectful. Maybe not though. Maybe time enough for both of us to calm down would have changed the conversation. But I’ll never know and I’ll always remain a disappointment for doing what I knew in my heart at the time was the thing I had to do. Grandma was forgiving and loving. I never held her scorn for long. I like to hope that would have been true in this instance and so many things would have been different.

My grandfather and I shared many traits and our stubbornness and resultant ability to hold a grudge were two of them. We could anger one another so easily and in a time when I was walking away from anything that was hurting my heart and soul, I walked away from him. I won’t say that turning my back on him was wrong, but I will tell you my inability to turn back around, to try to work it out, to try to forgive him for hurting me will always be one of my greatest regrets. I wonder, though, if his not coming back for me was one of his. We talked some before he died but it wasn’t the same. I’ve heard it said it’s never too late to make things right with people if you can just communicate and the truth is that is not true. Sometimes it is too late. I opened up my heart again too late.

These were my mother’s parents. When she couldn’t sustain her children on her own, these are the people my mother turned to for help. My grandparents kept us fed and housed and safe and warm when my mother couldn’t do it. Yet, when my mother’s toxicity reached levels I could no longer withstand, what I lost was not my mother, but my grandparents. In my efforts to untangle the mess that my relationship with my mother had become, there were casualties I had not intended. If I’m being honest, I understand it. They were simply protecting their daughter as they always had and perhaps, as parents often are, unable to see that I was not the enemy.

I’m painfully deep into writing about all of them. They have not been far from my mind much at all lately and the anticipation of the days reserved for their memory haunt me with such force this year I’m crushed by it. The distance of time allowed for the clarity to write the story but it has done nothing to heal the wounds. Not this time of year anyway. Not in November and December.

15 Responses to “November and December”

  1. Sending you love and strength for this difficult time. These anniversaries are so hard; one year may be easier, another crushing. The 7th anniversary of my father’s death is in 2 days, and I feel that weight.

  2. Stacie says:

    Oh Michelle. Such raw emotion as always. I hope letting your beautiful words out is healing.

  3. “I won’t say that turning my back on him was wrong, but I will tell you my inability to turn back around, to try to work it out, to try to forgive him for hurting me will always be one of my greatest regrets.”

    Relatable. True. Beautifully said.

  4. Nancy Lowell says:

    Michelle, what a strong and honest piece. I am sure your ability to write through this will support your journey.

  5. I could relate to your pain. Beautifully expressed. Sending you a big cyber hug. Stay strong.

  6. Asha says:

    There are so many truths here. My favourite was this “I’ve heard it said it’s never too late to make things right with people if you can just communicate and the truth is that is not true. Sometimes it is too late.”

    So beautifully, honestly, openly written Michelle. I feel honoured you shared it.

  7. Alex says:

    Ugh, I feel a lot of empathy. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Sam Merel says:

    “Sometimes it is too late.”

    This is heartbreaking but so true and so incredibly Relatable. Sending you lots of love for these next few weeks.

  9. outlawmama says:

    This really touched me. The people in your life– those living and those gone– are lucky to have you.

  10. Memories are only left behind….I am touched.

  11. Linda Roy says:

    Hugs to you Michelle. This season isn’t an easy one for many people as it is, but with those anniversaries, it’s doubly so for you. I love Fall, but when it comes, I approach it with a mix of love and trepidation. I know this is the time of year that depression rears its ugly head. Wishing you a peaceful easy feeling these next few months (as The Eagles would say).

  12. inNateJames says:

    I am a firm believer that the dead want us to remember them in the good times and in death all is forgiven. Much love to you!

  13. Natalie DeYoung says:

    Some things (and people) haunt us forever–some months are stronger with the hauntings, and you capture this well.

  14. Robbie says:

    I am so sorry. You posted this on what would have been my mom’s 74th birthday and it was thee first since she died. It is crushing and debilitating. ((hugs))

  15. “on getting through November & December…”

    I do believe the season gives a shove
    to jumbled thoughts about the ones we’ve lost
    Perhaps it is cold wind November loves
    Perhaps it is December’s cost – the frost.

    We sit beside the fire, remembering…
    Replay some theme we dote upon awhile.
    The breaking log may startle and will sting
    and if too close for comfort is our style.

    The mind may play more games when it should rest.
    Old memories, regrets will oft ignite.
    Perhaps to let them loose, it may be best:
    A letting go with cinders all the trite.

    They are the ones we loved no matter what.
    Releasing all the burn is soon forgot.

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