Fear of Family

Monday, December 28, 2009

I woke up last night in what is the closest I have come to a panic attack in a long time. Of course, being awake was a bit shocking as I had taken a muscle relaxant, melatonin, rescue remedy sleep and a strong hit of ibuprofen. By rights, I should have been firmly out until at least 10 a.m., coasting into 11 a.m. some mornings if I can ride the sleep wave.

I dreamt of my grandfathers funeral. In fact, I was so sure he had died that I was reluctant to open my email this morning since I knew that the message would have come.  While his death would be sad , he is an elderly man and is in increasingly fragile health. His wife, my grandmother, died last February. They had been married for over 60 years and I have read the statistics on how long one spouse lives after the death of the other after that length of marriage.

It was at her funeral, or the propect of her funeral last Febraury that the last real panic attack struck. I started to write about it then - detailing how I was laughing as the plane bounced in increasingly bad turbulance. Another plane would crash later in the same day under the same conditions, and as I flew back towards the place of my birth I was less scared of going down in flames as I was of facing my family. Imagine yourself on my flight - looking at me as I giggled and chortled louder with each bump and jostle. The rationale in my mind was that it was all right if I died, at least I would get credit for trying. And that this could be my epitaph.

"She tried"

I loved my grandmother. It was she who cared for the infant Dawn while my mom was in nursing school and father was in marine corp basic training during the Vietnam war.  I was the best beloved.  It was at her knee that I watched my first gardening occur, running through the orchard behind their house.  It is the spearmint hedge in her yard that I remember running through. She was a reader and books littered the house. Music too.  I used to dance with her to the Lawrence Welk show, during when the bubbles would blow around the set.

So back I went - twenty five full years since I last step foot in the Ohio Valley. Terrified of everything. Daring some god to knock me out of the sky...wishing for it.


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