Monday, March 17, 2014

Goodbye Grandma- An Incomplete Eulogy

Everytime a person dies, a library is burned to the ground.  -African saying

Grief doles itself out in bite-size chunks
Not allowing you to feel everything at once
Not allowing you to avoid thinking about it at all

Grandma's home smells of her
Her pills are laid out on the dining room table
Freshly cut daffoils in a mason jar
Dishes still in the sink waiting to be cleaned
or put away
I'm not sure which

Her home is a living thing
And a time capsule
It breathes, and coughs, and ages
Photos of my brother and I from varying ages covered in varying amounts of dust are in every room....placed in the midst of photos of her own children in similar ages and covered with similar layers of time
There were calendars up everywhere....most of them for this year, the occasional one from 2012, 1967, 1980...
Her home was a place to watch the time pass
A home that still housed the family members that no longer lived there
My father's books still on shelves, his drawings, the telescope he built but no longer wants

Part of me desperately wants these take with me all that I ever gave her, made for her, all that was my father.....because in some place in my mind if I kept all these things that I would no longer feel regret at not knowing her better.

In the end, I only left the house with a few save symbolically the library I never really knew

During the viewing this morning, the lighting made it look like she was breathing
Nature sounds playing over the speakers
Crickets and babbling streams
The very appearance of life
Cruel indeed

I sat next to my father then
Our knees touching
The odd comments....when did we see her last? remember when she did this?  that shape of eyeglasses is not her usual, they look good...
I want to know if they leave those eyeglasses on her when they close the lid, or do they gently take them off and put them next to her?

It felt weird leaving the room without shutting the door behind me
Like I was being rude at not respecting the sanctity of a nap undisturbed

If they hadn't told me it was her, I wouldn't have recognized her
Not because she had changed, but because I have no memories of her eyes being closed or not having a smile on her face
Strange the things we think about when someone passes....
My grandmother always smiled when she was around us...a breathless, happy smile
I would tell others of the silly, annoying things that she did when we saw her and I never realized that she was always
Happy to see us
Happy to be near us in the flesh
I never appreciated that

Grandma never aged
She told me once that she was 65
She's been that age for 25 years now
Our parents age, but our grandparents do not
It is only after they die do we realize that their struggles mirrored our own
That they loved and lost, worked and lived paycheck to paycheck, were something separate that the titles that we gave
At one time she was a full complex amazing human being
Someone who left a note to herself to water the plants last Thursday
I wonder if that got done