Day Ten: Oh This Day. Oh This Year.

071 | 365

A year ago today. He had his stroke a year ago today. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital from there it was the hospital, rehab, nursing home… he never really went home again.

I had a feeling things would hit me hard this month – because it happened last year when I was in the midst of writing daily – and the hopes I had had for being uplifting and entertaining went out the window and instead it was sadness and stress.

I was in his home on Thursday, picking up a dresser for my girls (they just don’t make dressers like they used to, you know? Those cardboard bottom drawers never last). On his wall was a card I had given him for Fathers Day. In 1989. He’d hung it on the wall, framed, for all of those years. And it ripped the wound open again.

I can’t think of anyone in my life who has been as unconditionally supportive as he was. He had a faith in me that I didn’t, and don’t, have and I miss hearing him tell me stories about my first job out of college, how he knew I could do it. I miss him mispronouncing Pumpkin’s name. I miss him bragging about The Princess. I miss him telling me how beautiful my family is.

He believed in the magic properties of duct tape and he believed in always having an answer to the question even if he had no idea what the hell the correct answer should be.

He was one of the good ones.

As if that wasn’t enough.

Today is also the day my former stepson turns 18. Right, wrong or indifferent, a lot of stepparents have that 18th birthday in their heads as a milestone, particularly those in high conflict situations. Eighteen marked the time when the drama would stop – if not then, soon after upon high school graduation. I spent a lot of years with my eye on this date.

And now it means nothing really.

It’s a strange thing. He was a difficult child. He had a lot of problems, one of them being his mother. I have no idea what he will become or what his life will be like and I hope that he’s able to find health and well being and peace. He’s still my daughters’ brother, you know.

It would have been a milestone day, and it’s not, and it strikes me as odd how it feels when you stop waiting for something and then it arrives.

I will spend part of this morning in my grandparents’ house. My cousin will be living in the house and she and her mom are getting rid of a lot of things. Coffee pots, throw rugs. His clothes. The basement shelves are lined with books; I don’t know where those all will go or how and I am sort of grateful that that task falls to someone else because I have no desire to haul the hundreds of books up the stairs.

We saw something in the basement the other day, a piece of furniture long forgotten. One no one had claimed. One that would have been discarded without a thought.

But it will look nice in Chris’s house. And I’m happy it will go there. Maybe he’ll be able to clean it up, spruce it up. It makes me smile that this table that would have been tossed away will instead be somewhere where I’ll see it.

I’m not looking forward to being in the house again. The more things they throw away, the less the house is what it was. And what it was might not have been befitting a spread in any issue of HGTV, but it was theirs – my grandparents’. It was who they were and the life they led. It was four children in a small house with fake paneled walls and a kitchen painted the color of the sun.

There’s a part of the living room wall that needs to be repaired – my grandpa’s swivel chair rubbed a gouge in that spot and now there’s a hole that is going to need something better than spackle.

They’ll patch up the wall. They’ll carry the books out. They’ll paint the walls. It will be like they were never there.

And I hate that. I know I’ll never go back again because I don’t think I can bear to see it stop being what it was anymore than it already has.

So, uh, Sunday. Emotional Sunday. That’s a thing, right?

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. As much as it hurts to have family for so long and then lose them, I envy you that relationship you had with your Grandfather. I never knew either of mine, they both died the year I was born, but they were wonderful men. My parents talk about them often, so they have a presence in my life, but I never got to have my own relationship with them. And there’s always been something missing. There always will be. So in a very different way, I know what that emptiness you feel is like. And I’m so sorry. Because it sucks. ((hugs))

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