Dad and Uncle Robert, his twin, celebrate their 80th birthday on March 31, 2018. It was decided to have their public birthday celebration and Uncle Robert’s going away party on the same day as Shayna’s memorial walk. So, we could not attend. My mother talks Kayla into making the drive down from Toledo to Columbus so that all of her grandchildren still in flesh can be there. Shayna will be attending in spirit. I’m sure she wouldn’t miss this.
Getting together with the family is bittersweet now. I always miss Shayna. I wonder what she’d be doing. Would she still be planning to go to OSU and be a vet? Would she have changed her career plans? My brothers four kids are there. My other brothers’ three kids are there. Having Kayla and Shayna was perfect for us. It’s not quantity, it’s quality. The girls had each other and our unit of four was enough for all of us. I’m proud of Kayla and Tywana for having made this work for what will be three years in three short months. They have displayed truly amazing strength and resiliency.
Saturday, we have lunch catered at Mom and Dad’s house for the immediate family (which including in-laws and grandkids) has gotten pretty big. I always find time to slip away and be alone with my thoughts about Shayna. I slip into the family room while everyone is in the kitchen fixing their plates. How many more of these will there be? I can’t think that way. Just get through one day at a time. That’s all I can do.
This morning, Uncle Robert got on a plane for Los Angeles. My father’s twin who Dad shared a womb with, went to Ohio State with, lived in the same city as for 80 years has moved to the West coast. Everyone’s asking Dad how he feels about having his other half move so far away after 80 decades. They went to lunch together once a week. Uncle Robert came over for dinner once a week since Aunt Betty passed a few months after Shayna. Uncle Robert married an LA Woman and has followed her to her home town. What’s Dad’s answer? Basically a shrug of the shoulders and an “It is what it is.” This type of stoicism is the norm in my family. Will Dad miss Uncle Robert? Almost certainly. Will any of us ever see any indication of it? Probably not.
Sunday is Easter Sunday. I have told Tywana “If anyone asks you about going to church on Sunday, don’t speak for me.” (Not that she would, just being sure). I really don’t want to attend my parents Holy Roller church and hear how God killed Jesus to save us from Hell and we’re still going if we don’t accept that. My brother is Catholic. Really don’t want to hear a Catholic sermon on Easter Sunday. My other brother is Lutheran and we’re staying at his house. Kayla and Tywana are going to church with him, his wife, and his three boys. Maybe I should go. Maybe Lutheran’s not so bad. But, I need to do what’s best for me. We’ll be getting together with the family again for dinner at 3 o’clock Sunday afternoon and there will be over 30 people at this gathering. I need some “me” time. I stay back at his house, do some mediation, and enjoy the solitude getting my energy ready for an interaction with all of these people this afternoon.
The dinner is nice. After we finish some of the women do what they always do. Before the meal they wonder if we will have enough. After the meal they evaluate just how much excess we have. You see it’s a total disaster if we run out of even one dish. I think it actually happened one Thanksgiving that one of the five meats was all consumed. It was considered an epic fail. As an example, Sunday we had potatoes au gratin, macaroni and cheese, corn pudding, and sweet potato casserole. There is plenty left of every one of those dishes except the macaroni and cheese. So, the conversation ensues “Will you make two macaroni and cheese next year, Grammy?”.
Dinner is over, we hang out an appropriate amount of time and head back to Cincy. I kiss Kayla goodbye and she turns her car North back to school at Toledo. We give our nephew a ride home to his apartment at University of Cincinnati and get back home just in time to catch Jesus Christ Superstar’s life production on TV. I have survived another holiday.