things i haven’t figured out

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life goes on.

sometimes things seem normal.

sometimes it seems like nothing at all has changed.

grandpa and grandma are still alive, snug in their house in pennsylvania: grandpa settled on the loveseat with a pipe and the evening newspaper; grandma tucked under a blanket on one end of the couch, snoopy the cat curled on her lap. the tv is on and criminal minds or numb3rs is blaring, the picture occasionally obscured by snow or static.

sometimes i can forget the bitter cold wind that made me numb at their burial.

sometimes i can forget the way my grandpa looked in his casket, smaller, paler, gray. not himself. he looked old, but he had never looked old in real life.

sometimes i can forget that i almost gave in to the tears at grandma’s funeral service. sometimes i can forget the way she looked lying in her casket, younger somehow, and finally out of pain. she didn’t look tired anymore. she was ready to go.

sometimes i don’t hear the way my aunt said, “you have to be strong for your mother,” and the way i said, “i’m trying,” even though one look at my mom’s face made my heart break even more.

it is a fact of life that everyone dies. but i was not prepared for so much loss in so little time. i’ve lost three grandparents in the space of one year and three months. sometimes i wonder if i will be numb forever.

i almost gave in to the tears at my grandma’s service, but i didn’t. and now they won’t come. now, in private, when i can cry — i should cry — they won’t come. i am just numb. nothing seems real, but everything hurts. the numbness hurts.

i get up in the morning, put on my work personality and go about my day as if nothing has changed. and that suits everyone just fine — most of my co-workers were too uncomfortable to even offer condolences — so the fact that i’m the same old jenny is fine with them. i get home and put on my wife personality — fix dinner, make idle conversation, watch tv, let the dogs out — and my husband thinks everything is fine.

and i tell myself that everything is fine.

then i start writing at 12:49 in the morning and the more i write, the more i feel the tears just behind my lids. it’s so close, so close, grief and mourning and release. but it won’t come.

when does this start to feel real? when do i figure out how to deal with the pain?

it’s been almost a month since grandpa died, and yet i can so easily go back to the minute just before i got the phone call. i want to freeze frame that minute, so nothing ever changes. nothing ever changes. grandma and grandpa are snug in their little house, safe in bed, and the bitter cold week when we buried them never happened.


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