Make a Memory is a movement, a challenge to turn
I wish I had into I’m glad I did in 2015.
Reach out and claim an adventure this year. Make a Memory before it’s too late.
I met writer Michelle Grewe in the modern equivalent of a chat room. (A hidden group on Facebook, where people actually have conversations, participate in long strings of back-and-forth and post what absolutely must be said.)
Because of people like Michelle,
I’m a secret group convert.
When I read some of Michelle’s writing, I knew she’d have a Make a Memory story.
And she did.
Michelle Grewe’s Make a Memory submission.
In her words:
In 1997, for the first time in my life, I saw shock in my father’s eyes for an entire 3 seconds. He was a Marine, capable of almost anything, and nothing I did ever seemed to phase him. I got caught sneaking out at night. He heard about a rape-like scenario I experienced by bugging the phones. I put a couple grand on the American Express card because my idea of an emergency was a sale at the mall followed by treating all my friends to Applebees. There was the time I probably added a grand to the cell phone bill because this was a time when cell phones were car phones, and you were charged for each minute. None of these experiences tripped up his control of his emotions.
But when the nurse came
in the hospital room and said,
“It’s cancer. You have 6 months to live,”
my father felt it.
Shock. Fear. And I saw it. That scared me more than anything: seeing his eyes wide open like a child who saw a shadow move in a dark room.
For the first 6 months,
I have no memory.
The second 6 months were spent arguing to a point where I moved out with a friend. It was almost as if he was grieving his own death, and the stages of his grief interfered with my grief. I was too narcissistic to notice that he too was grieving. Of all the people in my life, my father was supposed to be bullet proof.
A year into the game, my father was receiving a new treatment as a guinea pig in Chicago, and the white blood cells count were so low that he almost died from the common cold. That is when the gravity finally hit me.
I realized how much time
I don’t have with him yet.
So I vouched to make memories. I didn’t want to go to college when he was diagnosed because of personal emotional reasons, but my parents forced me to attend to keep me on their health insurance. This time, I put my foot down. I was staying home to take care of my father. Nobody else could. His three kids from a first marriage are too far away to visit let alone care for him. My mother worked full time, and we were all living from her income. My little sister was still in high school. I was the only family member capable of watching him.
I spent my days for almost a year waking up, cleaning the house a little like a maid, chatting on Lycos and Excite for an hour, and then watching television with my dad. While I was raised watching Cheesy 80’s Action Heroes with him (all the stuff in the Expendables movies) and Steelers Football, the shows we watched at this point in my life the most were Matlock and Animal Planet.
I always saw my father capable of saving the world like Chuck Norris and sitting down with his family like Andy Griffith. All the characters in these shows remind me of him in some way. And somewhere along sitting in the family room gawking at the tv like mindless zombies,
we made peace with his impending death, together.
I have something none of my sisters got. I have time with him they didn’t get. I feel blessed because I didn’t realize how much that mattered at the time.
I just wanted to be with him.
Michelle Grewe is a Mom, Air Force Veteran, Monster Hit man, 20 Questions Master, Human Jungle Gym, and a terrible driver. She paints, blogs at Crumpets and Bollocks and The Write Moms, plays piano badly, and dabbles in t-shirt design and fontography. She doesn’t fold underwear, and she eats loads of gluten. She has also been published in 2 anthologies: Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness and Clash of the Couples. She has been featured on websites such as Popsugar Moms, Mamalode, Blunt Moms, and BlogHer.
Michelle’s photos from her Facebook page.
Read Not Without My Father. Grab a loved one. Make a Memory that will live forever. The Huffington Post calls Not Without My Father “one literary ride you don’t want to miss!”