I Will Remember You

This weekend was a whirlwind full of high emotion, sleep deprivation and endless errands, mixed in with outbursts and continuing family sagas.

My recovery and ability to be mindful were stuffed into the crevices of my mind on purpose to be able to get through the last few days. As a result, I feel a bit betrayed, guilty and sad for essentially punishing myself for the triggers in Utah. I want to be kind and patient, but I’m really just frustrated that I can never return to my home state unscathed.

Every road I drive down has some memory that flashes before my eyes, most of the same buildings or houses intact where events, attitudes, or feelings took place. Except one.

The only home I felt truly at peace in was at the home of my paternal grandparents. Married for over 60 years, and having lived in the same home for over 45, my grandparents were honored and revered by their family and neighborhood for their welcoming nature, attentiveness, work ethic, volunteerism, and their always filled cookie jar. Not to mention grandma’s amazing home cooked meals.

Here, doll bird, you want some more?

Maybe this is where I first gleaned the idea that food could be love’s equivalent, at least temporarily. Served by my grandmother, though, it tasted that much better.

Our family moved around frequently in and outside of Utah, and since my parents were divorced, the only stable home we had was theirs. It always smelled wonderful, was cleaned to perfection, and had an immaculate lawn and garden.

My grandpa always stayed busy, even when he was getting too old to be. My grandma stayed occupied too, canning peaches, doing laundry, and hanging them out on the clothesline to dry.

Every Sunday we were there we would get ready for church, and grandma would always take us in with her eyes, genuinely sighing a breath of joy at her grand babies’ faces.

She was unusually protective of us. We were the children of the black sheep of the family, my dad, the returned Mormon missionary who got married to my mom, had five kids and ultimately couldn’t wear the hat of Mormon priesthood leader.

After years of struggle and two excommunications, he embraced his lifestyle as a gay man and attempted to navigate the alienating waters of an all-Mormon family.

I didn’t help much in his plight, I was judgmental and critical of his lifestyle not only because he was gay, but because of his standards that conflicted directly with mine and my siblings: R rated movies, shopping on Sundays, swearing, and an overall heathen attitude that influenced some of us, especially my younger brothers, in feeling that we needed to save him from himself.

My father and I have since reconciled this dynamic and so have my siblings. None of us are believers anymore, and I feel strongly that attempting to reconcile the eternal fate of someone you love with the church’s teachings played a big part.

My father’s family did not come around in the way we did, as his children, but you would never hear a harsh word said to his face. What was said in private, one can only imagine.

I know my aunts, uncles and cousins loved us, but there was a different air when they were around us compared to just my grandparents.

I didn’t feel that from my grandparents. I just felt protected, nurtured and loved, and now that they are gone, it is difficult to find what I can possibly latch onto as a good memory in Kaysville. All of the standing houses that have significance hold distant sad memories, dotted with some fond ones, but the house I loved the most is now torn down. I cannot drive past 200 East any longer, and the one time I did sent my stomach dropping like an anvil. Asphalt and parking lines is all that is left of the lot where my home base stood.

It’s too much to bear or even think about for very long. All that remains is in my memory and in pictures of a time where I felt there was at least one place to call my sanctuary.



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