The apartment next door is on the market. When they were renovating it, the workmen pounded our common wall so hard that two bowls fell off a shelf in my kitchen and smashed on the floor into pieces. (Two bowls I'd painted at one of those "paint your own" pottery places; they were not very well-done, but still, they had a bit of homespun appeal.) I wish I had enough money to buy it and knock down the wall and have one big apartment. Although it would have been more reasonable to do that before the owner invested in renovating it. (The kitchen, for example, while much more new and modern than my own, is not my taste - cherry cabinets and stainless steel and granite-like counter tops - the same cookie cutter kitchen that has been in style for the past few years. Mine is cheap white countertops and tile floor, white appliances and white particle board cupboards, all functional but due for an upgrade. I want white painted cabinets with glass doors and... wait, where was I?)
Last year was a tough year. When I was here last, I was just coming back from a family funeral. We had two more (both within the same week), both similar to the first in that they weren't in my immediate circle but very close to people in my immediate circle. So I had practice in being on the periphery of grief - of feeling sadness that people I love were sad, more than feeling sad myself. If that makes sense. Like anything, it falls apart when I try to analyze it too much.
But there is the realization that next it will likely be my own parents, or my one remaining grandmother. I have had dreams in the past week where I am woken by my cell phone ringing, and it's someone random telling me horrible news - my step aunt telling me "she's dead, she's dead" and I know she means my mother and I just keep saying, "no" (and I think I wake myself up saying it, aloud, in my sleep) or my aunt telling me that my grandmother is gone. I think it's a result of all the other real losses, or maybe a trick of the winter blues. Or maybe a neighbor's cell is ringing while I sleep and my brain constructs a scenario around it.