I love everything that Kat McNally does, so when she begin teasing April Moon, I signed up immediately. April Moon started with an Oracle reading, and I’m still ruminating over that one. I’m also still ruminating on most of the prompts. I’m not sure if it’s where I am right this moment or the state of flux my life feels like it occupies, but perhaps ruminating isn’t quite the right word. Struggling. I think struggling is really more the right word.
Which means this is probably what I need right now.
The prompt for today is
That’s when I knew this chapter of my life had ended, and I was free to…
There have been all kinds of chapters closed in my life. Leaving Missouri as a teenager. Finishing college. That first terrible break-up. My first teaching job. Therapy. Moving to Mississippi. Moving to Kentucky. Falling in love. Making a home in Mississippi.
Chapters finalized, new ones begun.
But I think perhaps the most poignant end was when my grandmother left her home and entered a nursing home. That happened when I was still living in Kentucky. I had to take a few days off work and make my way to her place to help with the cleaning out, and I’m still angry about how aspects of that went.
With being accused of being a thief. With being denied those very, very few things that were important to me – those things that had meaning.
I can’t remember now whether that was 2010 or 2009.
But when she left that house, I remember feeling distinctly that an entire chapter of my life was ending. No longer was I going to need to stop in Billings. I wasn’t going to need to drive past the elementary school and the little FHA house where my Sner moved us. Or wander by Rose Hill Cemetery and linger on the front porch at GrandSner’s house.
I could leave Billings – and all that Missouri represents to me – behind and never visit it again.
She is not gone yet, and I have no idea when she might be. Twice a year – which is never enough – the Sner and I make the trip up to see her, and every time I steel myself to see her in a serious state of decline. Every time I’m left hopeful…if that’s the right word for it…because physically she remains about the same. The reports are now that she is in a rapid mental decline and is experiencing the physical complications that go along with that.
It is painful every time she doesn’t know who I am. Every time she doesn’t remember. At Christmas, she was aware enough to know that she couldn’t remember and should remember and watching her struggle to put pieces together, to pull together the bits of a life she once had…was painful.
And I know that soon – maybe within this year, maybe sooner, possibly much longer – she will be gone.
The end of the chapter that started at least five years ago is coming up on its final pages. I will be left with a few recipes, a sewing machine, a set of wedding rings (if her wishes are honored), a mixer. And handful of things to remind me who she was and what she meant.
When she is gone, Missouri will, for the most part, be in my rearview. I’ll be free to shed that skin, to let go of all those places meant and were versus what I wanted them to be. I can let go of the baggage that the ghosts of those memories carry into my life.
And while I am looking forward to the letting go – the freedom – I am not looking forward to the loss. I was a Granddaddy’s girl, not so much a GrandSner’s girl, but still she looms large and is all that I have left of my grandparents.
Beyond that, though, some part of me wonders who I am going to be if those ghosts aren’t rattling around in my head and heart – who will I be when I am free? My hunch is that I won’t be all that different – just lighter.