Today would be my grandmother’s 86th birthday. Nearly four years after her death I still miss her as much as I did the day I had to say goodbye for the last time. She passed away 3 years and 11 months to the day after my grandfather passed on; she just couldn’t face another day without him. 53 years of marriage will make you like that.
My mother’s mom, she’s responsible in large part for shaping me into the person that I am. She never held her tongue, she always let you know how she felt about you and you couldn’t fault her for that. Her humor could make you laugh till you cry, but she knew when and how to switch it up and carry herself flawlessly. She wasn’t rich, but had more class than most millionaires. The grace of a ballerina, the tough hide of an elephant. She lived in the hood, but could make the country club home just as easily.
When my innocent little girl world got raped by the malfeasance and malintent of some grown people and became too much for me to handle, she let me take refuge in her home. Surrounded by grandma smells and sights, grandma cooking and hugs I was always okay. She held it down when my mom thought her world was going to blow up. Through divorce court, family court, everything in between she was there with a smile and some tough love if you needed it.
Alzheimer’s got the best of her, and I was lucky to see her a week before she died. She recognized no one around her except for my mother and I. I thought she’d make it, even though she looked like a shell of herself I figured she was invincible because she was my grandma. Yeah, at 20 years old, I still thought she was invincible. A week later it was over, and we buried her at Calverton National Cemetery right next to grandpa and it was all okay. Our hearts hurt but it was okay.
At her interment, there was a huge caterpillar near her casket. She had a love/hate relationship with them. We took it as her way of telling us that she was at peace and that she was ok.
Many days have gone by where I just wanted to talk to her and hear her voice again. I’ve actually picked up the phone and dialed the number only to hear that the number has been disconnected. As much as I want to say that it isn’t fair that I can’t talk to her anymore, I know that it really is fair. I get to talk to her with my heart and my prayers rather than with my mouth. And I know that she’s taught me over the years to find the same kind of refuge that I found with her within myself. She’s only gone in body.
*sigh* I didn’t think that I’d still be feeling like this so many years later. But damn I miss her…