I've visited the cemetary at least a couple times a week recently. About a week ago was the six month mark. I'm not sure if Aaron or Bekah thought of it. I think what made me think of it was the fact that my birthday is coming up and I remembered that my dad's mother passed away this time of year back when he was in high school. He'd usually get a little more depressed around now. So I wondered how long it'd been since he passed away and realized it'd been half a year already. It's strange how time plays that weird trick on you where it feels like it hasn't been that long since the funeral and all of that, but, at the same time, it feels like it's been forever since he was still here. Time is a strange thing, indeed.
I think it's a little out of character for me to go visit the cemetary. I mean, I don't really believe there's anything more there than anywhere else. It's not like I can talk to my dad and hear him talk back except in my head, so it doesn't make a difference where I go. But I still find myself going to the cemetary. Especially recently. I've been trying to figure out exactly why I go. I think the moments when I really miss him the most hit me at random moments throughout the day. I'll remember something about him because something is happening that reminds me of him. I see him in the room when me and my sister are joking around with each other. I see him getting food all over his shirt when I go out to eat at a restaurant. I hear talking about politics when I watch the news. And these are good memories, too. I smile more often than I cry when I think of him. And I'm glad I can do that. But the cemetary is a pretty quiet place, with no distractions. So I don't think I go to the cemetary because I miss him. I mean, it's not like I have memories of him and I at the cemetary. I miss him and I think about him, but I don't go to the cemetary to miss him or remember him. I do that better just doing everyday normal things.
The cemetary is actually located just a couple miles or so down the road from where my father lived. Not far at all. Sometimes I stop by the cemetary on my way into work. Sometimes I stop by on my way home from work. The thing is, there's this unavoidable feeling of guilt. It's not that I feel responsible for his death or that I think I could have done something to prevent it (although, in all honesty, I do have those thoughts sometimes, too, but even when I have them, I know it's not my fault). So it's not guilt over his death. It's guilt over the way things were before he died. It's that feeling that I should have visited more, called more, etc. I talked to him on the phone the day he passed away and earlier in the week, sure, but that's beside the point. There were so many days after work where I just didn't feel like stopping by his place. So, now I do. And it's not the same at all, I know, but I guess that's my punishment.
I hadn't called my grandfather — my father's father — in a while. That, too, is my fault. Aaron called a while ago and said he'd found out Granddad had been in the hospital again and wasn't doing well. I'd promised to call him once a week and, well, didn't. So I gave him a call last week. He was out of the hospital and back at the nursing home by then. He sounded like he was doing good. His voice sounded strong. And he was happy to hear from me. I called again after work today. Didn't have anything new to tell him and he didn't really have anything to tell me, but he was glad to hear from me just the same. I'll be sure to call him again next week, too. Even if I don't really have anything to say.
I talk to my mother at least two or three times a week now. It's not out of a sense of obligation. I just know I don't want to waste opportunities to have actual relationships with the people in my family. I just wish it hadn't been such a hard lesson to learn. But it's not a lesson I want to have to learn all over again.
Good night, sweet dreams, and I love you all.