Saturday, March 12, 2011
My grandma died today.
There really isn't any other way to put that, my last living grandparent passed away and here I am, three hours away able to do nothing but blog in response. She has been ill, has battled dementia, and lost my grandpa when I was in 7th grade... I know that it was time and when we went to see her a few weeks ago, I knew in my heart that it was goodbye - even if I refused to admit to myself then. I promised her we would visit when the weather got nicer and the passes weren't so treacherous and that's she'd see Addison play again. I think we all knew that it was a lie.
I used to think that my grandma was invincible - when I was little she would take me camping, we'd go for walks to feed the horses down the road, I played in their amazing maze of a yard and even though she was my grandma, she never seemed old to me. She served pears and cottage cheese on lettuce with dinner (always on it's own little plate) which always confused me - I'd eat the pear and cottage cheese but leave the lettuce because I couldn't decide if it was for looks or if you were really supposed to eat a veggie, fruit, and dairy all in one bite. She had these pink crystal glasses that she always served my milk in and it always looked so pretty on the table. She made me blueberry pancakes EVERY time I stayed the night and I got to put the blueberries in myself and make my initials in pancakes. She introduced me to English Breakfast tea with milk and sugar, which I still drink to this day, and I felt so grown up drinking tea with my grandma. When grandpa was asleep, she helped me paint each one of his toe nails a different color and he laughed so hard when he woke up. She always took me to the big craft store when I came to visit and bought me some science or art project to keep me occupied while I stayed with her. I raised sea monkeys, I grew stalactite (or stalagmite... I don't know which one grows up) in neon colors, color those velvet pictures, and made "stained glass" in the oven. I remember being cozied up in bed and hearing her wake up in the morning to turn on the thermostat so the house would be warm when we got up. I remember each year getting a different handmade Christmas ornament from her and seeing my Christmas stocking that she made for me (and one for each of my parents) filled to the brim on Christmas morning.I remember feeding the blue jays in the big spruce tree in front of their house and dad always honking twice and waving when we left for the night. I remember camping in Cle Elum and feeding the ducks and thinking that I had the coolest grandparents ever.
When my grandpa died, I think a little bit of grandma died with him. She wasn't ever quite the same after that and I remember standing on the deck of her new apartment after we moved her in and crying because things just didn't feel the same anymore. I know that now she is with grandpa and that he has waited a long time to see her and I know that the life she was living here wasn't what she wanted or deserved - she deserved so much more.
We aren't having a memorial service until her birthday - in June. We aren't going to get together and grieve this loss as a family until summer. We are going to spend three months in limbo - not having said goodbye and not able to move on from it until we do. My parents aren't coming up. This is a time when you are supposed to be with family, talk about the good things you miss, and lean on each other and we aren't doing that. You aren't supposed to just going on living your normal life when someone you love dies - you are supposed to stop and remember them, even if it screws up your plans. I'm supposed to take time off and go to Seattle, meet up with my parents, and be with them. Instead, I will go to work on Monday like nothing has changed and I will continue to do that until the end of June. I feel like in doing that, we are saying it doesn't matter - we'll get around to grieving when we have some free time and my grandma deserves more than that. I don't mean for this to sound cruel or like I'm angry - I just want to grieve in a way that makes sense to me and I can't do that when there is no funeral, no graveside service, no... anything. I want to say a goodbye properly - I don't want them to put her in the ground without people there to say goodbye - that seems sad to me, lonely. I wouldn't want to be buried alone - and I don't want her to be.
I miss my grandma... and whether it's from here on my computer or next to her headstone, I suppose she knows that and that is what matters.