Lunaya Pravda

12 June 2007

Scanning the skies for locusts

One day I really will be able to start a blog post without an apology for my bloggy silence. I've been remiss, I know, but this time I really do have valid reasons, not the least of which is an entire week out of town without internet access.

A little over a week ago my grandmother--my only remaining grandparent, in fact--passed away. It wasn't entirely unexpected; she'd recently been moved into an assisted living facility in southern California, and between the emphysema and the possibly cancerous mass in her abdomen, she wasn't doing well at all. She took a fall, and though her injuries were fairly minor, they were just too much for her taxed, weakened body to take. Within just a few short hours, she was gone. Actually, having watched her quality of life dwindle so severely these past few years, with her ending up on oxygen 24 hours a day and still gasping for breath after simply sitting up in bed, though I miss her, I'm relieved she's no longer suffering in that miserable, smothering half-life to which she'd been relegated.

I spent the past week down in California with the rest of the family while arrangements were made for her funeral and interment next to my grandfather, who predeceased her by almost 31 years. Family relations on that side are... complicated. While I've mostly made my peace with the fact that my grandmother preferred to stay down south to care for my cousin A.--who grew up with a largely absentee mother, a completely absent father, and a series of not-so-nice boyfriends my aunt brought home--everything A. had to say at the funeral filled me with so much anger and envy I thought I'd burst. She had the grandmother who was a mentor and a friend. She got the early mornings bullshitting over coffee, the crazy shopping outings, the laughter...all the attention I never got from her. Grandma tried to make up for it over the years with letters and such, but even now, I wonder how much I really knew her. I'm really pissed off that I didn't know her well enough to have anything to say at her funeral.

My head (and most days, my heart, too) tells me how blessed I am NOT to have been cursed with A's childhood. I had parents who were home at night to cook dinner and hear how my day was. Parents who cared enough to see me get into a good college, even if it put them in some financial strain for a few years. A. had a mom who gave higher precidence to drinking at the bar than she did at buying groceries so her daughter could eat. I look around at so many of my friends who have such tense, unpleasant relationships with their parents, and feel nothing but gratitude at my sheer luck not to be born into a family like that. Were trading places even possible, I'd never want to have taken A's place down there. Grandma was all A. had for so many years.

And most days I'm completely content with that knowledge. But every now and then, there are days when the envy gets the better of me, and one after the other have blindsided me this past week. I'm sick of struggling with it. I've never been one to dwell much on material things out of my reach, but it's dangerously easy to dwell on those irreplaceable one-of-a-kind desires no money can purchase. I just wish taking the high road could be easier. Right now, I'd settle for just one damn day.

So, after the stress of familial emotions, the funeral, the travel, and merely BEING in LA--a horror even when you're NOT there for a funeral--I arrived home and called in sick to decompress from everything, get some errands run, and relax. And while I was in buying groceries to replenish my empty fridge, my '85 Camry was stolen. In broad daylight in the middle of a crowded, busy parking lot, leaving me stranded with a cart full of groceries. It wasn't worth insuring for theft; what I'd have gotten wouldn't have amounted to even a fraction of a down payment on a new car. So my aunt, bless her heart, left her job early and came to pick me up, took me to the rental place so I'd have something to drive over the next week, and treated me to dinner.

Right now I'm just hoping they DON'T find the car, because it'll be more expensive for me if it turns up, what with towing and all that. I had planned to replace it towards the end of the summer, so it looks like I'll be doing that sooner than expected.

But bad things seem to happen in threes, so here I sit under my little black cloud, scanning the skies for locusts, lightning, reigning fire...the usual signs of impending doom.

I just hope all this is an acceptable excuse for not blogging.