If Only They Had Lived

I doubt a day goes by that I don’t think about what it would be like if my parents were still alive. Sometimes at night when my mind is racing and I can’t sleep, I daydream about what it would be like to wake up in the morning and take my kids over to their house for breakfast. It makes me happy. Instead, we wake up and get donuts and go to the cemetery. Which is super fun, too.

We’ll be driving in the car and the kids will all ask if we can go visit grandma and grandpa. My heart breaks a little bit each time I hear that. If they only knew what they were missing, When we go to the cemetery they ask if they can also go visit Beau’s dad after visiting my parents. The answer is always no. You can’t visit both sets of grandparents in one day. That would be insane. I’m not raising spoiled brats. One side per visit. We’ll come back tomorrow and see your other grandpa, but instead of breakfast, we’ll bring lunch. Then I get to hold it over their heads all night long. If you don’t behave yourself right now, you will not have a picnic at the cemetery with your dead grandpa tomorrow. If they are really bad, I say, no wonder your grandparents never come to visit you. I’m met with blank stares.

Imagine. Making a call from a shoe.
Imagine. Making a call from a shoe.

I wonder which grandchild would be their favorite. I can only assume it would be one of mine. Naturally. My dad would be in heaven watching all the kids play baseball all summer and taking them to White Sox games. I also wonder about the modern technology we have nowadays, since they’ve been dead. Would they have cell phones? Would my dad and I text? One Christmas, someone got a free shoe phone with their Sports Illustrated subscription. My dad was blown away making a call on it. I can only imagine what he would think of FaceTime. Would my mom be on Facebook? Would she post pics of her twelve grandkids? I think she would. She wasn’t as impressed with that shoe phone.

I wonder what their house would be like. I imagine all the kids would take turns having sleepovers. It would be their second home, just like my grandma’s house was to me as a kid. I think about us all meeting there on Sunday nights for dinner. My mom making an awesome dinner with mashed potatoes. And I always dream about them being here to babysit my kids. The cemetery doesn’t allow me to leave the kids there overnight. I tried. I even brought little cots and snacks. It’s not like I was abandoning them. When I told the groundskeeper they were just having a sleepover at their grandparents’, he didn’t seem to understand. I think it was a language thing. Or maybe he didn’t have grandparents either. Poor guy.

In happier, more alive, times.
In happier, more alive, times.

Sometimes I superimpose my parents into our family photos. I don’t print them or hang them around the house, because that would be weird. But I like to see them enjoying our family fun. This usually takes place after I open a second bottle. But it makes me happy. The crazy thing is, when your parents are alive, you just can’t imagine your life without them. But when they are dead a long time, you can’t imagine your life with them. It’s sick.

After they first died, I would look for signs of them everywhere. I desperately wanted to know they were still with me in some way, shape, or form. I think it’s a coping mechanism that you have to have in order to get through that first year of grief. After that I didn’t really look for signs anymore. I don’t know if I didn’t really believe in them or if I didn’t want to be disappointed. But two major things have happened that make me think they are alright. The same year my dad died the White Sox won the World Series. My dad was a huge fan and he would always tell us that when he was old and senile to just wipe his drool and tell him the sox won. We never got that chance.

The other sign was way more personal. When I was pregnant with my first, my mom came to me in a dream and told me it was a boy. I told my aunt and she said, oh no, your mom would never ruin the surprise. But she did. But the thing that made me really believe my mom was there with me was I gave birth to my first born son the same exact day my mom gave birth to her first born son. 7/7/07. Doesn’t get any luckier than that.

When thinking about everything my parents are not here for, the thing I miss most is them taking care of me when I am sick. No one can do that like your mom and dad. My dad used to crack vicodins in half and make us hot toddy’s with whisky. When you’re dying with the flu, nothing feels better. Because you’re stoned out of your mind. A few years ago I got strep throat really bad. I was dying. I had a really high fever and didn’t even know what was happening. I had two babies and Beau had to go to work. I was feeling very sorry for myself. Thankfully, Dat and Meggy took the kids for the day. But as I lay in bed, in and out of consciousness, all I could think about was if my parents were here they would be taking care of me like only they could. Deep down, I really believe they are here taking care of me. It would just be a lot cooler if they were doing it not dead.

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