My grandma’s favorite holiday was groundhog day.
I don’t know if she just loved the fanfare of it all;
If she thought it was so trivial and fun;
If Pansawtukee Phil was just too adorable;
Or maybe she was just a fan of Bill Murray?
(Which I mean—who isn’t?)
My grandma always had a knack for everything, not just the weird holidays:
It was continuing to remind me that penguins have knees,
And instilling at least one of her grandchildren with a love of the X-Files that never faded,
And people watching
from the car outside of Byerley’s —
Insisting it was going to be her novel
“Tales from the Parking Lot.”
She also used to tell us that my grandfather had been reincarnated as a cardinal.
And she would tell us,
In the springtime,
He, (or the cardinal,)
Would come visit.
And, my grandma adored talking.
She would tell anyone her life story
Whether they wanted to hear it,
a man named David at the Jewelry store,
some of my friends when we were just driving through on a road trip from college and stopped to say, “hello,”
Really, anyone who would listen.
She called it her gift of gab.
And, she was also really into scrapbooking
and creating slideshows of pictures
Simple ways of preserving the memories of loved ones
I don’t quite remember when her memory started slipping
When Alzheimer’s started digging it’s claws into
The facts, the stories...
Even the reality she knew and loved.
I’m sure, looking back, it was slow at first.
Like those first moments when Bill Murray wakes to the song “I Got You Babe,”
Not quite sure what is happening,
The fear doesn’t begin until later,
As the events repeat again and again.
I remember my mother telling me of a moment
Where my grandmother was reliving her
She lived with us then, and my mom had a baby monitor set up in her mother-in-law suite.
My mom woke to a crash through the baby monitor.
And when she rushed downstairs,
She found my grandma’s robes were laid out all around the room.
My grandma was on the ground,
The TV on top of her.
Her explanation of what happened is she was trying to steal the TV to buy a prettier dress.
In her lucid moments,
We told my grandma this story.
And she laughed
With the same confidence Bill Murray
has later in the film
Having accepted reality,
having accepted this fate.
Reliving days past
Knowing that a future
may never come.
It might be that the reason
She loved groundhog’s day was
The promise that spring is coming,
And with it, the cardinals,
And with it, new life.