To my mother's credit, she didn't bin it. I was asked not just for a translation (MiL spoke no Engrish) but for a full explanation of feeling and whatnot. And my mother, recently widowed, our entire family used and spit out by this woman's own eldest, wrote a rather heartfelt reply. The most important line has stayed with me:
It never gets better. But I can tell you that in time it gets easier. But never better.
I expect having to translate with feeling as well as word-for-word, I was forced to consider this more than I otherwise might have done.
And now we're losing another. We, my now family. The one I chose. The family who stick by me. All that's left, really. This is dragging up the past because quite frankly, I'm pissed off (whatever stage that's supposed to be). My kids are being robbed some more. My parents were gone before I'd even met sugar_spun but her parents were... well shitfaaahhr, dey-en't no older than some of my colleagues.
Post-wedding, we're on a scenic drive to the reception through some village. FiL points to the right and asks me,
"Doggie, did you know that no one living in %town% is allowed to be buried in that cemetery over there?"
"Do you know why?"
"Ermm... some silly law dating back to James I or Charles II?
"No.... you're not allowed to bury living people here."
The problem with remission is that, like flying aloft, it's almost always a temporary state.
OK, that was enough keyboard masturbation. Let's try this again:
When I was a nipper, nigh on four-anna-quarter or so, were were living in the New House. So it was after mid-October, 1969. But I know I was 4 when it happened. I remember being in the kitchen. My mother, an elementary school teacher, burst into the back door (kitchen) bawling. I was standing on the 3-step folding Upsi-Daisy aluminum ladder near the sink doing... something. Mommy was bawling her eyes out. I started crying and began to ask her, begging her, to tell me what was wrong.
"MY DADDY DIED!" she wailed. I cried harder. I even remember now that I couldn't actually remember Grampa H, but my Mommy was crying and that made me cry. Hard. And then the worse-er thing happened. My mother screamed at me: how dare I be so upset when it wasn't my father and I barely even knew the man?! And she was right that I couldn't even picture him. I could picture an event where he held me, but I couldn't remember anything about him. Not his face, not his voice, not his smell... he was (in my growed-up vocabulary) an abstract party.
The drive from the Manchester airport to Liverpool can be long, especially at night for a young'un who's been travelling for 6 hours.
"Mildly Naughty, let'S have a game. We'll count the blue cars, but silently, in our heads."
Eager as hell: "OK!"
Time passes. MNP can't hold back. "There's another, Granddad!
"How many does that make then?"
"Seventeen!" she screams so proudly.
"Strewth? Well, ahhh've counted 19. Perhaps you need to look closer."
The puppy breaks any further silence to claim random sheep and coo-beasties in the paddocks and fields lining the M61.
Mildly Naughty Puppy is 4. And, I think, a bit smarter and overall a bit more advanced than I was. Not quite as sheltered. So maybe she'll remember Granddad a bit more than I remember Grampa H. But he'll be little more than a memory.
And that pisses me off. It's not fair. It never is. THERE'S NO JUSTICE. THERE'S JUST ME. Which is fine when you're a fucking grown-up but hard to explain to an innocent, highly empathetic kid who just is not ready for the explnation about why that animal is a pet but that one over yonder is almost dinner.
I can't make this any better for my wife or for my kids. I can't make it anything. Fuck, I can't even make it any better for me. I like my in-laws, and I was counting on a lot of FiL's games and knowledge to get me through the points in life where those lame-ass Dad Jokes just couldn't cut the mustard.
They didn't hang Raleigh high enough.
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