I don't know what triggered it, but this morning, I got the urge to listen to Electric Light Orchestra's, "Telephone Line." Instantly, I'm in the back of a Ford Festiva, my chubby cheek pressed against a window, battling slumber.
My mother would frequently listen to ELO on our road trip to my Grandmother's house in the New Jersey suburbs. Well, it was my Grandparent's house, but more than anything, my heart lit up as soon as I knew I'd soon be seeing my Grandma. She was amazing. She is amazing.
My Grandma Bea was always there for me as a kid. She tried so hard to shield me from any hurt I might have been feeling, from anyone and anything that might upset me. She was my security blanket, and when she died, a large part of me died right along with her. I couldn't cry in the room with all of the people at her funeral. I was too raw, the lump in my throat too big to let loose in public. I had to lock myself in the bathroom of the funeral home and sob alone. I couldn't even bring myself to look at her because it couldn't be real. It hurt so much, everything inside of me clung to the hope that any second I'd be waking up, wrapped in sweat drenched sheets.
But she was gone. She is gone. And there's nothing I can do about it. I will never hug her again. I will never get another rose shaped tissue that smells just like her, that she'd made to fool me into thinking I could take part of her with me on the car trip home. I'd smell it, my cheek pressed once more against that cold window, secure in that fact that I'd see her again soon.
She was just always going to be there, and even into my twenties, I'd think about the hypothetical of losing her and have to instantly pull my mind away. I knew I'd crumble at even indulging the thought and I figured I'd push the pain off until I absolutely had to deal with it.
This morning, five years later, I'm still dealing with it the best I can, in bits and pieces. I let the pain wash over me for ten minutes after I hear a James Taylor song and I ugly cry into a sink full of dishes. I think about my sister's wedding, knowing that she won't be there, and tears stream down my face while I look at Pinterest idea boards. I reread a card that she sent me, telling me how she considered me, not only a Grand daughter, but also an incredible friend, and my guts wrench.
That's how the grieving process works-- You don't ever get it all out of your system, the pain just keeps sneaking in through cracks of your every day life. Time doesn't make it better, you just get numbed to the idea that that part of your life is over. Until you listen to a song and get that familiar lump.
Nostalgia is wonderful, but during the moments where you open your eyes and can no longer feel the glass against your cheek, it's slow torture.