"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


So.  Today's the day.  Kit died 2 years ago.  I don't want this to be a sad post- I have had enough of those lately. 

I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said by his actual kids.  I'm an in-law.  Still a part of the family, but a tiny bit removed.  Enough for some perspective, and a bit of humor and discussion on a day that is still a minefield of emotions for his nearest and dearest.

A lot has happened in the 2 years that he has been gone.  Lots.  Things that he would be proud of, like Sebastian's school, Sawyer starting JK, mostly Geoff opening his comic shop.  Others would have caused him stress- like Geoff opening up his comic shop (just kidding, kinda).  He would have been worried about Sawyer's speech therapy, Sebastian's surgeries, my ridiculous overtime.  I would like to think that we would have seen him often.  But the truth is, we lived 5 minutes from him, and really didn't see him more than once or twice a month.  It has taken his passing to wake us up.  We have family dinners now, every month.  I don't know that it would have happened, if he was still here.  I would like to think that it would have, but I just don't know.  Same as the store- would Geoff be working there now, if Kit hadn't died?  I would like to think so...but sometimes, I wonder.

See, silver linings.  Making something good come from the horrible. That's all you can try to do.

Today, I warned Sawyer to be gentle with Daddy.  I told her that when Daddy came home from work, he might be a little sad, or maybe even angry.  I told her that is wasn't her fault, it was just a hard day for him.  She asked me why.  I was going to tell her, but honestly, didn't feel up to the conversation.  She guess it anyway. 

"Is today the day that Grandpa died?"

I told her yes, and because of that, everyone was thinking about him and that we would feel a little sad.  She said that she had to tell Sebastian, so that he would know too.  She immediately ran off to do that. 

She skipped down the stairs to the "kid" cave that Sebastian has made for himself in the basement.  Kleenex dust coats everything (don't ask.  But really.  It's amazing how much dust a shredded box of Kleenex makes.  Crazy). 

"Sebastian.  Sebastian!!  Guess what today is!!!  It's the day Grandpa died!"

The disturbing part of this conversation is that she is saying this like it is his birthday, and the surprise party is coming next.  Of course, I call her back upstairs to chat.

We sit on the couch and talk.  I explain to her that I LOVE that she is still so excited to talk about Grandpa.  That she remembers him (visits to the hospital mainly, but she says she remembers seeing him at home once.  Remember, she was only 2 when this happened).  I said that she sounded very happy to talk about Grandpa, which would make him very happy too.  But then I told her that she had to remember that this day, 2 years ago, was the last time that Grandma and Daddy and Auntie Dawn and Auntie Holly got to see Grandpa.  And because they don't see him anymore, it makes them sad.

She started to cry then and was very sorry that she had been happy.  So, of course, I felt like a giant heel.

I try to encourage her to talk about it as much as she wants.  I don't want it to be taboo for her.  I do warn her if she is talking a bit too much, and getting obsessive about it, or if it is bothering Geoff too much and she needs to tone it down.  But I don't want her to ever think that she can't talk about it, or him. 

I have never asked my father, not one time, questions about his father.  I have a vague distant memory of someone I think is him.  I know a little bit about how and when he died.  But it's all stuff that I have just gleaned through the years, mainly from random comments from my mother.  It's not that it's taboo, necessarily.  I just understood that death is not something my father handles well.  I knew better than to ask.  So I never did.

I don't want Sawyer to feel that way. 

But now I feel bad.  I bring those feelings of sadness or guilt into it, enough that it made her cry.  It's the last thing I wanted. 

With her being 4, however, she bounces back quickly.  She snuggles for a bit and the storm passes.  And when Geoff does finally get home, he is fine, if a little quiet, and things go smoothly.  I don't think she even mentioned anything to him, and if she did, it was private.  Which is fine too.

So, today, another anniversary.  Not one that anyone wants to celebrate, but that we each mark in our own little way.  I had a coke, like I do on his birthday and today.  Just a little thing.  Sebastian took sips too.

But then, life intervenes.  Sebastian is sick at school, and I pick him up.  The laundry is overflowing, so we do some of that.  There is dinner and the first bath in a week for a little boy.  And it occurs to me, through all of this, that this is our tribute (or mine, at least.)  I keep my family going.  I provide and support. 

When Kit was in the hospital, he talked to me about being strong for the family.  That I was hardworking and dedicated and that he didn't worry because he knew we would be fine.  It meant a great deal, so, today, I did that.  I was strong for my family. 

Miss you Kit.  Hope wherever you are, the golf weather is already there.  I hope the Coke is cold, and there are good friends to sit around and shoot the shit with.  I hope that you get to see the sunshine and pick the berries off the vine.   I hope you have a dog, to sit with, to walk with, to throw a ball for, once in a while.  When you need it, I hope the coffee's hot, and the books are big and thick and good.  I hope the music playing is the blues and that no one there has kids as good as yours, or grandkids as cute.  I hope the people with you love rambling stories and don't mind being interrupted. :)

Mostly, I hope you can see us.  I hope that you know that we are ok.  And I hope that you come to visit, sometime.  When you have some spare time. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for " 'nother year."


  1. As usual, great post Anita! I always find something in your writing I can identify with. When I first started reading this one, I was of course thinking of Kit and remembering some of the great talks and laughs we had when I worked on midnights with him. I'm really grateful I got to know him a little bit.

    Then as your post went on, I started thinking about my own grandfather...my mom's dad who died the day before my 5th birthday. He was only 48 and it was a terrible loss to my mom and her family. My very first memory in life is being at my grandfather's funeral. That's all I remember about him...him in his coffin. Everything else I know, I know through stories, pictures.

    I liked what you said about your tribute to Kit and there being something of a silver lining to every sad event that happens. It's a healthy way to get through hard times, I think.

  2. thanks, Laura! With time, I think we get to find those silver linings more and more. Of course, we would trade every silver lining for another day with him, but without that, at least he is still helping us live our lives and live them well.