Let’s count of all the ways. I am really surprised to be upright now. It was a long haul to get here like maybe eighteen hours. So you’ll notice that I’m not able to post this – not sure if I’ll be able to access the internet at the house or not once we get there in the morning.
It feels a bit challenging, sitting here in our little small town motel which adjoins to a gas station, to put it all into any sort of perspective. Mostly, I’m too tired to think. I want to not think about a lot of things.
My mother spazzed 90% of the way, turning into the most deranged backseat driver that anyone has ever imagined. If I wonder where my driving anxiety comes from, it’s got its root in how uncomfortable she is with anyone else being in control but as soon as you ask her if she wants to take over, she shuts up for a few minutes before starting in again. I have more to say on this topic – on being, for all intents and purposes, a non-driver and to have this odd status that has been conferred on me – but now’s not really the time to get into it. Suffice to say, I have to keep remembering that this is not a vacation. We didn’t decide to go this way, to this place, for leisure. There’s a purpose and if we’re not wildly enjoying ourselves, that’s not a failure of the trip or place or people. We’re all stressed. She seemed to be a bit more amped up than usual, having left the beloved dog out in the rain accidentally, and all the rest of us were just incidental targets when it came down to it. Not fun. It made me crazy. I feel crazy at the moment.
And what seems most true is that none of that matters at all. The way people are relating to the place we are, the place we do, in a lot of ways come from, is incidental. What matters is that we’re here for my grandmother’s memory – for the person she was and the life she lead and what this place meant to her. This was her home, regardless. I met my cousin and my aunt and we stood in the parking lot and talked a little bit about the funeral arrangments, and the way it happened. It was a bit disturbing to see my aunt, usually very made up and poised, without a stitch of it on her face and obviously, she’d been crying. It is as they say about it being worse when you witness people of strength breakdown. But at the same time, she’s such a comfort now, for the rest of us.
We are talking about recreating Grandma’s candy recipe and her dishtowels she embroidered for us and lots of other little things that probably make no sense to anyone but us, like the prayer for the buried pig: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, a pig is a thing you never can trust.”