And it's not because I've fallen madly in love with someone. Nor am I making elaborate anti-Valentine's plans in an effort to give the finger to Corporate America, who seems to think that I need some dude to give me chocolate and flowers on February 14.
No, I'm not doing any of those things because the day doesn't have much to do with "choo-choo-choosing" anyone for me. See, my grandma was killed in a car accident 10 years ago Wednesday. While others are worried about whether her boyfriend will make dinner reservations at a good restaurant or what his wife's favorite flowers are, I'm missing my grandma.
I'm surprised at how much I miss her still. I also feel bad because I don't miss my grandpa as much. He died 20 years ago Friday. I guess it stands to reason that I just knew my grandma better, because I had 10 years with her that I didn't have with my grandpa.
Also fairly surprising is how much I remember from the day she died. I was annoyed at my boyfriend because he got me shitty candy for Valentine's and I'd gotten him good candy. Little did I know that my day was going to get a lot worse. I remember the phone call from my dad. The phone call to the aforementioned boyfriend, who was less than supportive (but he was a cheating asshole, too, so what do you expect?), and the phone calls to my bosses at two jobs and to a friend. They were considerably more supportive.
The drive over to Middlebrook Hall to pick up my cousin. Our drive to the farm. The waves of family coming home. Going to my brother's basketball game. Getting a hug from my best friend from high school's brother's best friend (who heard Ferris passed out at 31 Flavors). Not telling my mom that my sister and her boyfriend took my brother to the hospital because he'd gotten a concussion sliding into the mats under the basket.
But after that, it gets kind of foggy. The family asked me to write her obituary. I know I did it. And the newspaper changed it, which was disappointing. It's not like I didn't know what I was doing. I wrote a few obits at the Daily in college.
I remember my uncle walking into the funeral home for the wake looking frighteningly like my grandpa. I remember that awful, awful silence when we walked in for our first viewing. My dad asked me to sing at the funeral. I enlisted the help of my cousins and we did that. I remember that was the only time during the funeral that I wasn't crying. That's really about all I remember. My birthday was the day after the burial and I don't have any idea what I did.
My grandma was so sweet, gentle and kind. She stood in fairly stark contrast to my grandpa and his gruff nature. I can see her so well in my aunts. I love listening to the stories my aunts and uncles tell about her and my grandpa when we're together and people start reminiscing. Whenever I hear someone say "warsh" or "wrasslin'" I think of her.
It's odd how I share this experience with my entire family, and yet I feel so completely alone these few days before the anniversary of her death. But I think we all deal with it our own way. My brother used to go to the cemetery and put a rose on her grave every Valentine's Day, until he moved to the metro area. And I have my own little ritual. On Wednesday, I'll drink a toast (or several toasts) to my grandma. Okay, I'll get semi-stinking drunk. I'll do it again on Friday for my grandpa. And by then, I'll be okay again.