I am not typically one to dwell on my past, give in to melancholy, hold pity parties or lament my lot in life. I subscribe to the 'get over it and move on' philosophy and I truly appreciate how extraordinarily fortunate I am.
Yet, every November the melancholy comes creeping in and takes up residence. I think about the people that were part of my former self. The people that made me who I am and who are no longer part of me. They've left their mark, both glorious and tainted.
My grandmother, who was taken by Ovarian cancer the November of my 12th year. She was my life. My refuge from my tortured mother. We released her ashes into the ocean on Christmas Day that same year. Christmas has never been the same for me since. Each time I celebrate it with my children, I miss her.
My grandfather, who loved me more than even I can imagine, but never had the words to say it. He was so strong and so gruff and the kindest, gentlest man in the world. I think my son inherited every beautiful quality from this man and we didn't even share the same blood. I guess that just tells you how inspiring he was. He fought to stay with us for 2 years, through two massive strokes. I was there for the end and helped him go. Three and a half years have passed and it feels like yesterday.
My father. I don't have much to say. A letter here. A card there. Some birthday money, a gift, an amazing drawing from his own hand. Not until a diagnosis of ALS did I learn that he always regretted leaving me. A week spent together when he was still standing tall, just a little help from the cane. Fast forward 18 months and 3,000 miles and I'm there by his side again, saying good-bye. Still a stranger. Just six months after my grandfather.
My mother. Here I pause and think. I'm not sure what to say. Tortured, troubled, self medicated. Kind, compassionate, funny. I want to recall the wonderful times and the laughter. I wish there were more. She tried, she did what she could. She loved me in her own way, I have to believe that. Her demons were too big to fend off and she gave in. After 10 years of silence between us, speckeled with an occasional plea for money, my last words were to ask her what medications they were giving her to help her addictions. Her last letters pleading me to not give up on her. She was finally going to get clean, again. They went, mostly, unanswered. She gave up her battle exactly a year after my father.
My step father. He's still around, living in Texas with his mom. Feeling the effects of his own tortured life. I wish him no ill will. I hope he goes quickly when he does. I don't want to know. We are done with each other, there isn't anything left.
I've left the worse out of this journal post, because this isn't meant to gain pity. It's release and a weight gone. Putting sorrow into words, helps them pass to where they need to be. The past. There is balance, because my world is full of what I graved more of as a child. It has love, stability, kindness. I've made sure of that. There is no dwelling, just moving forward.