Tuesday, November 10, 2009




Granny never liked going to funerals and so, rarely did. She preferred to celebrate friends, loved ones, and acquaintances while they were here with us on this earth. "It's too much," she'd say. All the crying and carrying on. All the memory-telling and reminiscing that the identified patient couldn't enjoy. Funerals were sad times, and Granny didn't believe in being sad, just feeling "punko" from time to time and getting over that fast.

I always used to joke with her that not only would she outlive us all, but she probably wouldn't even go to her own funeral unless we forced her to. We both always expended a good chuckle over that one.

Nobody is chuckling today.

Granny, as gracefully as she lived on this mottled ball of depleted natural resources and seawater, has permanently gone fishing. Even though she's no longer of flesh and blood, I can clearly see her riding her horse on the beach, the headdress of her 1930's dancing costume flapping in the nor'easterly breeze as she heads for the end of the pier to cast her expertly baited line, singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" quietly under her breath while she waits for the first flounder of the evening to come find her nicely appointed hook.

She's gone, you guys. The one thing in this world I thought she'd never be. The one person in this world I thought sure I'd never be without. The one person I'd always wanted to please and impress, although my just being here was pleasing and impressive enough, as it turns out.

Last week, the news of Barack's grandmother dying hit me like a concord. Here he was on the eve of some of the most amazing history that has ever been made, and the woman who helped him find himself left his life. On top of creating a family and an up-til-now impressive professional career, she lived almost long enough to see her grandson do something historically profound and he will use her momentum and life lessons to lead us in a better direction. I cried for his loss.

In some small way, I understand that to mean I have that same responsibility to my family: to use the lessons I have learned from Granny for good, not evil.

Knowing that I was able to spend those two weeks with her last month, and that I was able to take Foo with me so they could kiss and hug about it all offers little solace. Because I am a selfish bitch, I don't want there to be no future. I don't want to face talking about her in the past tense. I don't want to believe that this fairy tale could not have a magically happy ending. And in the same little brain, the thought "she feels no more pain" cuts though all those little ribbons of selfish thinking and turns them into white doves floating beneath the cloud line.

Granny is gone. Summon the angels. Prepare the xanax drip. Locate the lotion-infused tissues. Fuel up the jet. And look the fuck out.

If I want as hopeful a life as Barack promises and Granny realized, I have a lot of work to do myself. But first I must figure out how to share this pain information with my daughter (who only just asked for her Gigi yesterday) without humidifying the air with all this face rain. ["I don't want you to cry, Mommy. I still love Gigi even though she dies." AAAAAgggggggffghghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!]

Granny. I know I always used to ask if -- no, insist that -- I was your favorite. Of course it only now occurs to me today that it doesn't matter if I was your favorite. You were mine. Still are, always will be.

Oi. Air is hard to find. The lights seem darker even though they are on all the way. Coffee tastes bitter instead of nectarly. My head is swimming with water. My eyes are stuffed with sadness.
My heart is shattering one fine cleft at a time. With every memory that we will never remember together again, another vein of sorrow erupts.

To the most beautiful human I have ever known, I am glad I never knew that loving you this much meant hurting this hard. I promise to try in my own way keep the ripple effect of your amazingness in motion as long as I am here, and pass the tools you have given me to Foo and Bub in your honor.

To my family, I am sorry for our loss. Our family tree has beautiful roots, though. I will see you all soon.

I love you, Granny.

* * * * *

I just spoke with Granny's caregiver who has quickly become part of our family in the fivish years she has been part of our family. Apparently Granny had a big day yesterday. She asked to be taken to the grocery store first thing in the morning and promptly went shopping. Then she caught a Madagascar 2 matinee, indulged in pastrami at her favorite deli, cruised the Krispy Kreme window, and spent most of the day laughing as she was chauffeured past all of the landmarks in her memory. She asked Nikki to drive her downtown to check out the old department stores, her childhood home and elementary school.

Last week my mother was sending me text messages full of pictures of Granny-On-the-Go. Pedicures, hair-doings, luncheons with all the other old birds.

She was cramming it all in. As much as she could stuff into this pillowcase called life. I'd say if ever there was a mode of living that could surmise Granny's life credo since I've known her it's "Live it up." Crack open the champale. It's Granny tribute day.

* * * * *


Lulu said...

Have you spoken to Rebecca? Sure wish you guys would make-up. Not just for you but for her too. Love you!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you - especially today. I lost my unconditional person (my dad) 12 years ago and, damn, if it doesn't feel like it was just yesterday. They're still with us, just not as convenient as before.
Wishing you peace in your treasured memories.

t said...

You've been through so much. Give your heart a chance to mourn and remember today. There's much to look forward to -- you can (and likely will!) be comical again tomorrow.

Did you see/experience that wacked out hailstorm, the gorgeous sunshine, and the full rainbow today? Maybe that was God talking weather-speak to you again.

Cati said...

Reading this made my heart break once again in the precise same manner it did a year ago when she flew with the angels. I know what it is to lose your favourite person (lost my grandad 10 years ago and I still cry sometimes).
I feel better by thinking that I survived him and therefore it is my duty to spread all of my grandad's awesomeness between the 5 out of 13 grandsons/daughters he had and didn't get the chance to know him. I try to live with his principles in mind and give to others what she gave me.
I recently turned into my cousin's favourite person and I feel proud and honoured to be able to perpetuate my grandad's legacy. I know he's around, reminding me what's important when I need to be reminded.
So is your Granny.

tlh said...

holy shiiiiiiiiiit, i dig your daughter!! basketball is a badass song and she is awesometastic!!! xoxo

Trysha said...

I've been (lurking) around since BMC days, followed to Katie and now to KIC...maybe you remember me, maybe not. Anywho, I lost my Grandma exactly a month ago and I swear the only person who could understand the gravity of losing her is you. I've cried for the last month, for my Grandma and for your Granny. She was the only person who got me and now she's gone and reading your words...exactly. I dunno what else to say, but thanks for writing what I feel.