My Late Grandmother

29 Jan


I was nine when my grandmother died. From what I hear my grandmother was spunky and beautiful and stubborn and full of life. She said what she meant and meant what she said. I remember her calling me “child” with an affection that only comes from a grandmother’s voice. I remember her Christmas cookies and waking up on Christmas morning having her be the most excited person to start the day. I remember my grandmothers big  jewelry and flashy clothes. I remember “her” chair and to never sit in it. I remember her strawberry hair and her baby powder smell.

I remember the morning she died and seeing my mom sit at the edge of her bed and cry until she had no tears left. My dad sat at the edge of the bed with her and rubbed her back as she rocked back and forth silently sobbing. I didn’t dare go in their room. I was scared. I didn’t want to cry. For some reason I felt like I didn’t deserve to. I felt like tears wouldn’t bring her back. All they would do is make my mom cry even more. I thought crying would make me selfish.

I remember driving to Texas in silence wondering why no one was talking. Wondering what exactly happened. Because no one was telling me anything. I remember trying to stay strong for everyone and feeling like I was in some sort of twisted dream. I remember everyone smiling and pretending like everything was OK when we all knew it wasn’t. Why were they pretending everything was OK? I remember feeling SO guilty for smiling while playing in the hotel pool. I didn’t deserve to smile.

I remember my mom giving me fifty cents to go to the vending machine and walking into the vending machine room to find dead cockroaches covering the floor. My brother and I didn’t dare walk in there, but we also didn’t dare complain that we were hungry…because we really didn’t deserve to. I remember walking into the viewing. My cousins were crying because they didn’t want to see Granny Annie like that. I remember seeing her hands and was confused that they were a strange shade of orange. I remember wondering why she was wearing her glasses because I knew she wouldn’t need them in heaven. I remember being so mad at my parents for having me see her like that. I didn’t say anything about it because I didn’t deserve to.

I remember talking to my brother at the funeral and having my other grandmother “shush” me because they were bringing out the casket. I remember being mortified and felt like I had somehow disrespected my late grandmother. I remember that I was supposed to sing at the funeral, but I didn’t want to. My voice wouldn’t bring her back. I remember my mom always singing “Country Roads” while looking at the sky for months after my grandmothers death, I remember that her windshield wipers always went off randomly and she laughed saying that Granny Annie was telling us hello. I remember that being one of the only times my mother laughed for a year after my grandmothers death.

I often wonder how things would be if my grandmother was still here. I can’t help but feel that she is a part of me and I am, in a way, like her. I wonder if she would be the only one who understands me if she were alive because my personality is so much like hers was. I wonder if she would be my voice of reason. My son is just like my grandmother. Stubborn and brutally honest. I love that about him because I see a little bit of her in him.

My grandmother passed away 15 years ago and my heart still aches to smell her baby powder perfume and see her smile on Christmas morning. To see her jingling over sized jewelry and sequined jackets. Would she be proud of me? Would she still look at me as if I were her happiness just like she used to?

I miss my grandmother and I can’t help but wonder if I would have a little more clarity if she were here to say “Child, pick yourself up by your boot straps and stop crying about something you have no control over. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

One Response to “My Late Grandmother”

  1. Dana April 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    She would be very proud of you. You two would have been great friends. She loved seeing people go after their dreams and never look back.

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