Every Sunday morning I check out the latest on Post Secret while drinking some coffee and enjoying the fact that the kids are happily watching TV and we don't have to rush anywhere. If you haven't ever gone to the site, people send in secrets written on postcards and every Sunday they post a new batch. If you ask me, they post too few as I always reach the end of the new ones and am disappointed that it is over so fast.
It is incredibly rare that one strikes me as germaine to my own experience but this one made me gasp "Holy Shit!" so loud my TV tranquilized kids asked me what happened.
Not even a week ago I explained to one of my dearest friends that I felt I was shockingly and horribly insensitive to when people my age tell me of their grandparent's illness, decline, or death. Not a few days later, another friend, one I am not so open with, told me her grandmother was just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is not expected to make it more than a few weeks. She is devastated of course and I said all the right things but inside, all I could think of was the sentiment on this post card.
I think a lot of my problem comes from the fact that I didn't grow up with the kind of grandparents that these folks have. My dad's dad died before I was born and his mom was old before her time and all my memories of her involve her in an assisted living facility reaching into the sweaty bosom of her housecoat and giving my brother and I a dollar so we would be quiet and go explore while she talked to my parents.
My mom's mom is still alive in her 90s but is so out of it, and has been for years, that I am lucky if she remembers she had a daughter let alone a granddaughter. We did spend a lot of time with her growing up but she was never the cookie baking sweet grandparent of TV show quality. I believe I have told you this before but the one time she took my brother and I out to give my parents a break, she complained the whole time about how she had to do it. There is also the time she came to my childhood dance recital and told me after it was over, "You were the worst one up there. A real elephant! Two left feet!"
My mom's dad died when I was 6 and my step grandfather's idea of bonding was cornering you while barking his political beliefs.
So here I am shockingly insensitive to the whole grandparent dying thing and feeling terrible about it because clearly my friends are in pain about it and I am having trouble trying to go through the chasm to be genuine for them in their moment of grief.