Hello, Old Girl

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Life has been strange and beautiful, and though I’m going to do my best to describe it to you, I don’t know how well my world will translate onto the page, but I’ll give it a go.

As I wrote last week, transitioning back into Vegas, seeing my dad off to Germany, ramping up new work plans, it’s been in intense emotional roller coaster– one of which I’m proud to say I’m riding to the best of my ability.

I’m in a period of loss, so to speak, losing my dad in proximity, and a few other things I cannot discuss yet, it’s strangely drudged up the residue of my first major loss– the death of my Grandma. Though it’s been about 9 nine years since she passed, it’s a loss that has left (or at least I thought) a gaping hole within me.

Brenda

My grandmother was magical. My childhood was full of wonder, imagination, and excitement of which she facilitated by encouraging my storytelling, love for books, and card games. Seriously, I was 2 when she taught me how to read. I’ve been reading books like a crackhead in need of a fix ever since. She saw something within me and helped unleash the madness that is Taryn into this world.

Brenda was the quirkiest/kookiest woman I’ve ever known. She laughed at odd things, remembered important dates at odd times, and when I was little, I thought she was nutty. “Crazy like a fox!”, she’d say when I told her I thought she was nuts.

At 27, turns out that I too laugh at odd things, remember important dates at odd times, and am a little nutty. I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this crazy like a fox thing.

Around 16 — I can’t remember exactly– I had this strange feeling to spend more time with my grandma. I can’t explain why, but I felt the need to spend more time with her and to say “I love you”. So each Saturday, I’d stop by her house with a DVD and we’d watch a movie.

We both shared an appreciation for good looking men, and Troy had just come about. “Brad Pitt and those legs,” she’d exclaim. I’m sure I nodded in agreement. The dude had some great legs. On that note, I need to rewatch that film, ha.

This went on for a few weeks, and sometime shortly after, she suffered a stroke on the bus she rode from work. When I first heard about it, it was hard to put into emotion because I was still removed from it. It wasn’t until seeing her in the hospital, in an altered state from the crazy lady that I adored, to a sickly being staring down mortality, that I began to shut down.

I couldn’t bear the pain of seeing my hero reduced to a mere mortal, barely hanging onto life. Though initially she was improving, it was about a year or so later that she passed, right after my first horrifically shitty year of college and some massive changes within my family. Needless to say, 2008 can go to hell for all I care.

As my sister told me the news of my grandma’s passing, I cried for a few seconds, and then I went into an emotional coma of sorts. I’ve always been terrible with feelings but this took the cake. I buried my feelings– deep into an abyss with plans to never really use them again. My world went gray, as the person who first introduced me to the vivid colors of the world was no longer with me. If I’m being frank, I thought the best parts of me died with her.

A semi kind of life

As time went on, I trudged through life, having some decent moments, but never truly allowing myself to experience joy or peace. Granted it doesn’t help that I’m an existential weirdo, lol. Anyway, it’s funny how caring for others will help you eventually learn how to care for yourself, and I’ve got an army of niece and nephews and a not-so-obedient dog to blame for that.

Over the years, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time in helping bring up my niece and nephews. Changing diapers, potty training, school graduations, awards ceremonies– it’s been a blast. Though there are 7 of them, I can spot their unique identities, what makes them tick, and how to reach each of them on their terms. Looking back, that’s exactly what my grandmother did for me and my siblings/cousins.

So fast forward to yesterday, after spending the day watching a set of 1 year old twins, a 2 and 4 year old, memories of the craziest lady I’ve ever known came flooding back to me. It was odd, as I was walking my dog late last night (90 degrees at 10pm, yay Vegas), I began to think about what she’d say to me about how I’m “doing life”. I knew she’d never want me to live in the self-imposed prison I’ve created.

In that moment, as I was walking Abbey in the suburban streets of Vegas, I spontaneously combusted into hysterical bouts of crying. Man, was it ugly– but also peaceful, freeing, and about freaking time. On a side note, I’m so glad no one else was out, because I’m sure I looked like a mess. Even Abbey kept giving me “wtf” looks from time to time. I wasn’t crying out of sadness or grief per se, but they were tears of joy because someone who I’d hadn’t seen in many years had returned to my life — me.

Not gone, just sleeping

Maybe this is my roundabout way of accepting the loss of a loved one, but it’s nice to be able to resurface from a long slumber. Much to my initial belief, I didn’t leave, I’m not broken, I just came back from playing an unintentionally long game of hide and seek. That’s at least what I’m telling myself, anyway.

I can’t help but to think and smile because though my grandmother is not with me, I’ll always have her. I find her in the things that I do, how I behave, how I think, my work ethic– I find her in me. So as it turns out, I was never gone or broken– just hiding underneath the layers of time.

Today I say hello, Taryn. Glad to have you back, we have a lot of catching up to do.

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