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Happy Father's Day

Around Christmas, I thought the worst that could happen in 2009 was the loss of my grandfather (and, by proxy, the last living connection to my father). I didn't even like my grandpa that much-- I loved him as part of our teeny tiny family, but I hated everything that came with his growing up on a farm. The animals should live outside, the women can't do anything, and of course, Rush Limbaugh is the only person who knows what's going on in the world. Yet toward the end, who knows? Maybe he just kept up that front to elicit the suffocated groans from the rest of us; I like to think now that he had changed at least some of his opinions, but brought them up as a joke.

The one part of all that that's ever been a relief in the months that it took me to get over the loss of him, is that I don't ever have to buy him a gift or a card again. I know I didn't much during high school and college, but when I was young, as well as recently, it was always painstaking and painful. I could never get something for my grandma without getting something for my grandpa as well, and finding something for someone I knew nothing about, not to mention a man, was mostly awkward. I always want to get practical things that I know the recipient will actually use (unless it's for my sister, in which case I like to find the coolest, artiest thing around)... how do you do this for someone you don't know? So on this Father's Day weekend, as we wandered the mall yesterday with Dillon wondering if he should get something for his dad or one of his grandpas, I did take some satisfaction in the idea that I don't have to deal with that anymore. It still wasn't really enough to take the edge off, but perhaps if circumstances were different and we *hadn't*, on top of all else, seen the new Pixar movie with the elderly man as the hero (after his wife dies-- did I mention Pixar can make me cry in under 60 seconds flat? Just flash a funeral home with a sad man in front of it, guys. You win)... perhaps then the idea of not having to buy a card or a gift would've been just enough to get me through that loss alone.

At any rate, as we're staring down the barrel of more shopping to be done in the next few months, the idea of having to buy fewer gifts is becoming more and more appealing. Although I sure did want to get my grandma an iPod for her birthday.

And soon my even-tinier family is going to be shopping for new cars, new houses(?), and newly rescued dogs. And those will be the most painful gifts I've ever had to buy, because the whole time we'll all be thinking about the latest losses that they're trying to replace. In all honesty, finally getting a Mazda will be far less sweet because I won't have my grandma--the only other person in the family who likes Mazdas--to show it off to. And I'm excited to help my mom find the perfect rescue dog from the no-kill shelter in Riverside, but I can barely handle the idea of Rascal being put down now, let alone Zelda... but maybe Zelda can wait; for as sad as she is right now, she seems to be okay physically.

And June 30th will roll around, and then July 19th, and I can see why Catherine wants to be out of the area when that happens. And worst of all-- what will happen to Mom through all of this? I've been worrying about her so much but I can't even have a 5-minute phone conversation with her right now because she's so crazy about everything, and that makes me crazy, and that's the end of that. I'm hoping--futile, I know-- that all the crazy will dissipate once her obligations are finished. Maybe she'll go on a vacation for a few weeks, come back, and be my favorite version of her again: the strong matriarch with the carefree laugh, someone who doesn't need a man and doesn't expect that her friends do either. Or do I alternatively hope that she'll meet a man, so that if she doesn't revert to her old self, at least there will be someone to be strong for her?

I always knew things would be harder losing my grandma. I just wish that everything else could stay constant-- my car okay, my work on hold for a month or so, my mom going to be okay, Zelda okay-- so that when it happens, I can mourn without interruption. I think, because of all this, I will in the end be additionally shopping for a therapist for a month or so. For now, I just want to go to Disneyland.

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