Every August 2nd, my Grandma used to call me bright and early. She wouldn't say hello, or do any of the pleasantries you might expect. She'd just immediately launch into "Happy Birthday", and I'd sit patiently with a grin waiting for her to finish. Back before caller ID, this often caught me by surprise, as someone suddenly singing in your ear on the phone isn't a super typical experience. There was always a delayed realization of who was calling, and what exactly was going on.

Unfortunately, This tradition ended when she died several years ago. She passed away in a nursing home far from me.


My Grandma was really special to me. I don't think this is an unusual circumstance - a lot of grandparents are well loved by their grandkids, and vice versa. I feel guilty about this - just about everyone I know has lost a grandparent, yet I'm the only one who manages to still be consistently upset, at least outwardly. I'm the only son of her only son, which warranted me a huge amount of love and attention.

A lot of our relationship was initially based around "things". There wasn't a holiday that passed where I didn't receive my wildest dreams of gifts. Every game console, every Batman action figure, every Pokemon card. I think to an outsider I'd probably seem like a spoiled child, and while it's possible I was, I disagree with the framing. To me, a spoiled child is entitled, materialistic, and focuses only on the "what". While I always enjoyed the gifts my Grandma got me, I always felt loved. I always felt treasured.

More than the gifts, I loved being with my Grandma. I used to go to her house and spend weekends. We'd watching game shows at night (Wheel Of Fortune & Cash Explosion) while we shared Pizza Hut. We'd go to bed and talk about the trains we could hear going by at night. I'd named the one that came through on Saturday nights the "Midnight Express".

During the day we'd walk to the nearby parks. Sometimes we'd stop at vending machines at the park, or on the way. I'd always get an RC Cola or a Sunkist. I'm still an RC defender to this day. Sunkist, of course, needs no defending. After we got home, I'd play video games or watch Cartoon Network, which I didn't have at home. She loved 2 Stupid Dogs. She'd make me a whole box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and I'd sit there in the livig room with a TV tray, glued to the screen.


Anyway, I've rambled about her online before, so I suppose I should clarify that rehashing that isn't really the point of this post. The point, I guess, is to mourn August.

As a child, August always marked "the beginning of the end". It's similar to the way a Sunday feels: "Wow, it's great to be relaxing, but I'm dreading tomorrow". August is that feeling stretched out into a month of shorter and shorter days, each one more anxiety filled than the last.

Today, I only have a wisp of a memory of this feeling, but I can never shake the feeling that a pall is hanging over this month. Last year, my wife lost her dear Grandpa to kick off this month, as we sat alone in our home due to COVID. Each day of this month, I'll awake with a pit in my stomach, knowing that something else must be right around the corner.