my family was here over the weekend and i got this big rush of sadness when my brother was telling some story about walking downstairs one random morning and finding my dad asleep on the couch and then sitting down and watching a whole movie on tv while my dad was asleep. it was one of those moments when you realize that things have changed and they're never going to go back to the way they were. the things that we did every day for years and years we will never do again. my brother is not just going to be hanging around the house, nor am i, and now family time has become an event, but an event that has the air of forced normality - like we're trying to make it just another thanksgiving and ignore the fact that we're eating fish and chips and that half of the family is severely jet lagged. we go to movies, we do the uncomfortable family shopping trips in crowded department stores where ben and i complain until we're allowed to go off on our own. only this time it's harrods and not northwoods mall. my whole life i was waiting to be set free from my little closed-off peoria world, but i thought that i would always have that to go back to. i didn't think of the fact that it wouldn't be there anymore. home is not home. and london is not home. and chicago is almost home, but i'm not there and neither is most of my stuff.
and in the larger sense of my family things are really not ever going to be the same. i was really happy when i learned that everyone was going to be together for christmas because i couldn't remember a family gathering at which someone hadn't been absent for work reasons or something. but of course we're not going to be all together. because my grandpa is gone and he's never coming back and we will never be all together. our happy family which had previously known only peripheral sadness now has to face the hard truth that life is full of pain and though someone can have 50+ years of a good marriage and a good life and have kids with good marriages and good lives who have kids with good marriages and good lives it will always end with emptiness and pain.
and my wonderful grandma is sad and all i want to do is sit with her and tell stories and cry and watch law and order and make soup. i would give anything to not have her be alone. i get really upset when i start imagining the rest of her life and the fact that no matter what happens she will always feel at her core alone and sad. what kind of payment is that for a life well lived? and she will probably move out of rushville and i will never have a home there, in the place where my mom grew up and i was born. and when i finally find someone who i want to bring into my special wonderful family they will never know about grandma's house and the bicentennial collection and witch and the crazy wallpaper in the bathroom and that place that was for my entire life the one location where i knew nothing but happiness.
and i was home for almost two weeks and it broke my heart to leave. i need to go back and stay put for a good long while.
and all of this stuff has come to a head this weekend with my family being here and the fun times we had but the strangeness of the lives we now lead. i don't know in two years where i'll be or where my brother will be. hell i don't know where he'll be in six months, but i think it's a scary place. but everything that we saw and did this weekend spoke to me in some deeply personal way. harry potter literally punched my in the stomach and made my head spin i wanted in that story so bad. the movie ended and i could not remember what country i was in. i just feel so helpless in so many ways that clearly defined battles of good and evil make me long for a nobler world. then on friday we went to see the woman in white (which is andrew lloyd webber's latest, and don't you even think about making fun of me for getting so worked up about harry potter and stupid andrew lloyd webber. i know how lame i am) and it was really good and of course really epic and dramatic and i'm still so in the story that i've been dreaming about it. i won;t go into the productions bad points (b/c that's not the point of this) but it was victorian and romantic and had a really complex and interesting female lead and an ending that left me really unsettled in the way that good theatre leaves you unsettle. i'm a sucker for victorian social constructs and the patterns of behavior that they force people into. when there's a very good reason you can't follow your heart's desires it's emotional and interesting and it makes me want to cry all the time.
and that's about it. i need to go home and i'm working as hard as i can to get there. less than one week...