In life, in reality, my grandfather was one of the most gentle people in the world. And when I woke up, he still was, but I had such a vivid dream about him--something where he wandered off, due to the Alzheimer's, which I think was always an overriding fear with my family, so in the dream he wandered off, and I was living in a big city--I think it was New York--and there was some event coming up--some anniversary party, nothing huge, but enough that all family members ought to attend--and he was gone, missing. My grandmother was ready, her white blouse pressed, and we looked out the window of the dusty apartment, some sad place in the city, everything in shadows, and he was gone, and we realized he was a part of something, some frightening beast stealing away, and he was bumbling about, so we were doubly upset--the fright of losing someone (like a puppy, like Gatsby when he vanished into the dumpster room at the old apartment) but also there was some kind of threat, and at some point, I witnessed my grandfather being kidnapped, being stolen, being struck and there was ketchup and mustard, which was supposed to be blood, and there was this awful trauma, and since then, as we make the chicken and chop bits of pear, I keep thinking of my grandfather, bumbling around on a dirty city street, a tweed cap and a pipe, of being attacked, and his innocent confusion.
This is what haunted me as New Year's began, but my heart swelled, changed, as Kelly came in, helped me maneuver the grocery cart, the recipes, and I pressed my hand against her belly, so early in the second trimester, the hard lump beneath some vague sense of a rise, and I thought about my grandmother, and her lost husband, and what that means to her.
I asked my husband, as we played the Wii, as I beat him at boxing once again, how he got over the loss of his grandmother, and we talked about all the terrible stories of wandering, of misbehavior in dementia, about how this disease convinces our favorite people to do such surprising things, and how those of us, the rest of us, hope. I can't think of any other verb for this--so much is frustration, is sadness, but hope seems to ride above all else, and my husband confessed he didn't have the chance to be as close to his grandparents as I have with mine, which is so sad for him, but makes me so grateful that I had this opportunity, which seems to be rare--to become close to that next generation.
So here we are, just beginning the new year, and I am saying good-bye to one of the greatest men in my life and soon to say hello to maybe another, or a wonderful woman. I do know this: s/he will have one of the greatest mothers.
I cannot wait to see what this year brings.
7 hours ago