Over the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about the people who have gone on before me- in particular, my dad and my maternal grandmother.
With my grandmother, the memories have been linked with food... and it's been unexpected. My mom and step dad are coming out to the house tonight to visit with my wee little Greta and cook out with us, and DH asked me if I would make homemade potato salad to go with the rest of our food.
I didn't even think twice about it, just started going through the cabinets and the fridge to gather up the stuff I needed for it without even thinking about finding a recipe- almost like I went into autopilot. About midway through the process as I was squirting relish into my big pot that was already full of diced potatoes, egg, mayo, mustard, and s&p I realized why I didn't have to think about it... Somewhere in my subconscious was a memory of my grandmother just throwing stuff into the pot, cooking in that old southern way of a handful of this and a pinch of that until she had created the best potato salad you ever put in your mouth.
I didn't cry, I didn't grieve... I just had this bittersweet feeling of longing for what once was. I realized that I would never be able to travel back and time and help her cook again, but I can revisit those feelings - that precious time I spent with her - by making the food that I helped her cook all of those times.
Also, with father's day coming up... I've been thinking about my dad a lot lately. I dream about him sometimes, and some dreams are more traumatizing than others. Some nights I'll dream that he never really died, he just ran away. Other nights I'll dream that he hadn't died yet, but I knew he was going to. Then yet other nights he'll show up in random dreams where he just plays a part like everyone else.
It all started a few weekends ago when I went to visit my dad's family for my grandmother's 83rd birthday. She has stage 3 Alzheimer's, and a lot of the day was spent rehashing old memories and watching videos from my dad's and his sibling's childhood. Ever since then, he's kind of haunted me, begging me to finally come to understand our relationship for what it was without glorifying it (something people tend to do with their deceased relatives) or thinking it was so horrible (something people also tend to do). I feel like maybe my subconscious is telling me that it's time to accept my relationship with my dad for what it was with its share of both glories and glaring failures.