This day started with a headache - literally, I woke up and it was there. My neck is a cement column, my eyes are bleary, my head and shoulders are burning with piercing pain. I have spent it, for the most part, alone, in silence, save for a brief morning chat with hubby before he left for work and a phone call to my mother that lasted a few minutes longer than usual. My weapons of choice against the aggravating headache are essential oils, coffee, and the heating pad with a Velcro closure that wraps around my neck.
I've been trying to get through some more course material; currently, La détresse et l'enchantement by Gabrielle Roy. It is, thankfully, much more interesting to me than the previous novel I struggled through. It's an autobiography, and it's been making me think and reflect and ponder (not only because I know I will have to write about it afterwards). The author details her relationships with family members, her passions, her choices, life, death, nature...all things that have had an impact on her journey throughout the years.
My paternal grandmother came to visit last night with my aunt and uncle. I hadn't seen any of them in a while and the familiar guilt was returning. I don't know why, since I have been legitimately busy and haven't really seen anyone or gone anywhere socially for the most part since we got back from our honeymoon. I gave them the grand tour and listened to their offhand commentary. We sat on the couch and made idle chitchat. I was glad a friend had also dropped by and was there for the visit. It served as a buffer for me...I've never been alone with my grandmother, that I can remember. I noticed that she wasn't looking herself, but didn't mention it. Her face was paler than usual, she seemed tired, and her hair was disheveled. I've hardly ever seen it disheveled.
As she left, grandmother looked at me and said, "You wouldn't have anything to worry about if your father was alive" in reference to the things hubby and I are hoping to renovate here. It was followed by an awkward silence and an offhand "Well, that's it. Those things happen" or something like that from my aunt. It hit a nerve. As of now, I am 7 years older than my father when he passed. It's an odd feeling, to know you're older than your parent lived to be at such a young age. And having her say that...well, how could she know what he would be like, now, as a 50-60-something year old? And, again, it discounted my stepfather, who has already been here and done a bunch of stuff for us....so, there's that. And it's always been a taboo subject. We've never had a sensible conversation about my father, her son. And time is ticking.
I happened to mention it to my mother today. I dunno why I bothered. She quickly glossed over it and moved to another subject, which happened to end up with an observation of the relationship between another mother and daughter we know (it isn't very open and communicative, to say the least). It made me sad to realize that that was the relationship we used to have when I was young. And, to an extent, still do surrounding uncomfortable topics...like my father and my struggle to understand and improve interactions with his family. We're trying, my mom and I, but we still haven't breached a lot of barriers. She knows me well, yet she doesn't know me at all. The same is also true of the reverse.
And so, as I am noticing in Gabrielle Roy's autobiography, we are linked and bound to our families, we feel compelled to be there for them (or try to be) when they need us, but we remain such separate entities all at once and sometimes isolated and unable to traverse the gaps in ways we cannot quite grasp.