May 22nd 2015- Back to the Old Grove
It’s been awhile since I’ve used this old thing… I thought that this journal could come in handy someday. I had always kept this in the back of my closet, gathering dust over the years. Something tragic has recently popped up in my life which has made me question what is reality and what is fiction. The idea of using this journal popped into my mind as soon as I got the phone call from my brother Josh to come back home to Ol’ Bakersway Michigan, my hometown. I have a feeling that keeping track of what’s going on in my head and my world will help make sense of things, and maybe perhaps find a way to add some closure to the madness that has ran rampant in my life.
So, Today on this muggy, warm, late spring day, I find myself to be in front of the endless set of stairs leading to ‘The Grove’, the local and ancient place of rest for those who are no longer with us. That’s what the old timers like to call it… ‘The Grove’. Its been awhile since I have been out here in I believe the last time I’ve been here was when my mother passed away. The truth is… she had been very ill since the day I was born. I was about 16 years old, going onto 17 at that time. I was graduating within a couple of months and then going to the school of my dreams over 2,000 miles away from home…. 2,000 miles away from the edge of the Mid-west….
Anyway, my apologies for my rambling! I have a bad habit of rambling from time to time… it’s a nervous habit… My mind is just all over the place. My name is Josephine Ganter, which everyone either calls me Joey or Jo. So… I haven’t been to this place in over 10 years. I’m 28 now, turning 29 next month. I moved away from Michigan shortly after my mother’s passing. The whole thing just… it came as a sudden shock to us all, especially with the fact that her oncologist Dr. Jason Manning told her that within a few months they’d be able to reduce the amount of chemo and radiation she was getting because they thought she was doing better. All of her medical tests turned up one hundred percent clean! Her blood tests came out mostly normal, the PET scans she took every month showed major progress, and she had more energy than ever before. Also before my mother passed she was given a bone marrow transplant (which I still thank the donor to this day) which we thought helped add an extra kick that she needed to fight this thing off. Dr. Manning was confident that a few months after the transplant my mom could possibly rid herself of the cancer and go into remission. Well, things didn’t go as planned.
I can barely remember what really happened except for finding her on the bathroom floor in her bathrobe the morning after my graduated. Everything was just so sudden and so fast… everything feels like a blur. The only things that I vaguely remember was burying my mom up at The Grove then moving about a week or two after her passing. I don’t even remember the exact reason why my mother died. It still bugs me to this day that I don’t remember. As soon as everything was said and done about my mom, I decided it was time for me to go. My dad and little brother, Josh who was only about 16 at the time begged for me to stay for a little longer before school starts, but I couldn’t. My mind told me to get out of there as quickly as possible, which I still question why I had that thought, but who knows.
I moved to the west coast right by Portland, Oregon and got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Oregon. I found the love of my life, Steve Swanson. We met each other while during our Sophomore year at the University of Oregon. Steve had the same interest in Psychology and wanted to become a drug abuse counselor and I wanted to be an MFT. We both got married a few months after we graduated, Steve being 22 and me being 21. We have been together for nearly 8 years now and live in Oregon, in a townhouse not too far away from Portland. Everything has been perfect for us. The perfect jobs, the perfect marriage, the perfect home, and the perfect life. I’m a hair away from finishing my Master’s Degree through an Online University and Steve was working his way up to get promoted at the psych center he works at. One phone call dramatically changed all of that. Like I mentioned earlier, it was from my brother Josh, whom I have barely heard or seen from since I moved. He told me the heart crushing news that our Dad had passed away from an aneurism and that was a hard thing to swallow. I loved my dad so, so much. We used to be very close, and we still were even after I moved. We emailed each other, talked on the phone, and had Skyping sessions all the time. He was such a loving man that would never hurt a fly. He treated me, Mom, and Josh very well growing up. Dad even came to my graduation, Steve’s graduation, and attended our wedding. Even Steve was really close with my Dad. Whenever Dad would visit, sometimes Steve would take Dad out to go golfing, play tennis, go bowling, or chat over a couple beers and dinner. It was so wonderful… up until the last six months or so then I started to hear from my Dad less and less…
While talking to Josh, he had told me that he had temporarily moved back in with Dad to help take care of him for a bit, but I had no knowledge of this until he told me. Josh had only come to visit once or twice, gosh I can’t even remember how long ago it was since the last time he visited. I know Josh was always someone that always kept to himself. He was always really busy with whatever he did. He became a college professor at a University which was a few hours away from home, but he had put some of that on hold to help with Dad. I really wish he would have told me sooner. I guess from what Josh told me is that Dad got really, really sick before he passed away. He had constant headaches, ear and sinus infections that would not go away. Not even doctors could figure out what was wrong with my Dad. It was so strange to hear all of this, I found it all hard to accept.
I mean, thinking logically I knew Dad had developed a number of health problems as he got older like Hypertension, Arthritis, High cholesterol, Chronic back issues, and Borderline Diabetes. And I also knew that Dad wasn’t going to live forever… but I never saw this coming. All of a sudden, everything about my mom’s death came flooding back to my current state of consciousness and I lost all control. Thank god Steve was home at the time, I don’t know what I would have done without him. I remember standing there in the middle of the cherry oak and drywall covered entryway, then the next thing I knew I was then on the couch with Steve. He had told me that I had fainted so he picked me up and put me on the couch. I told him what Josh told me on the phone and cried and cried and cried. I’ve never cried like that in my life until now. I told Steve that I needed to go back to Bakersway for a bit to attend my Dad’s funeral. Steve had never ever been to my hometown with me for I never really wanted to go back there. He didn’t take no for an answer and we booked the trip to go back to my hometown. Steve and I went officially went on LOA about a week ago and then we went back to my hometown….
So, here we are now. It’s just me standing here before the steps of The Grove… my Dad’s funeral isn’t for another week… but I have yet to stop in to see my mother’s grave, not since before I moved. It’s further back… quite a bit further back… oh should I go in there? … what should I do? What can I do? I’m going to leave this entry here for now then log something in here later…
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