(Grandma and Grandpa — probably around 1935 — just a guess.)
I am 43 years old and can count on one hand how many people close to me have died.
And of the people on that list, most died when I was young, or were far away in Germany, or played a part in my life when I was young but I rarely saw before they died.
I can remember attending three funeral/memorial services. Two of those were for my husband’s relatives.
My Grandma, who died on Tuesday, is the first person that I had regular lifetime contact with, that I’ve lost.
How can that even be possible?
I’m amazed and don’t get me wrong, completely grateful, although it’s not hard to fear that the second of half of my life is going to make up for it.
I didn’t have a spectacular relationship with my Grandma and I wondered how I was going to feel when this finally happened and I felt a lot shittier than I expected. And also angry. And I know all about the 5 stages of Grief but I wasn’t mad at her – she was 94! She had a good long life. And I wasn’t mad at God. She was 94! (And why have I decided that shittier has two “T”s? Maybe it should be shitier. But that doesn’t look right. Who gets to make the rule on that?)
I was just mad. About everything: coffee stirrers, red trucks, clouds. It made no sense.
I told Mom I wanted to help with the obituary and I wanted to submit something to the tribal newsletter. Being Indian was not Grandma’s thing, but she was an elder and our culture respects elders. And I want a nice story in the newsletter about my Grandma like all the elders get.
She was the last one standing (or, whatever) out of 17 children. There should be a medal for that.
So all afternoon I looked at what Mom had sent me about Grandma and I tried to figure out how to expand it and make it bigger and make sure that we didn’t miss out on anything she accomplished. What would she want to be remembered for? I didn’t want anything to be missed.
The part of me that was so mad at her for [redacted] remained silent. It’s not denial. It just realized all those things don’t matter any longer.
You read all these obituaries and everyone was well loved and brilliant and did amazing things and you wonder, what about all the assholes?
I’m not one who shies away from discussion of death and I’m always telling my husband what to do if I die young and tragically: “The password to my secret bank account is [redacted]” “No teddy bears at the side of the road” and “Don’t let them say I was so nice and great when I was really cranky and drank too much and had trouble finishing things.”
But unless you do something really dreadful (see Hitler, Stalin, Hussein) everyone gets a “bye” when they die.
Even Darth Vader was redeemed before he died. It’s a relief. I only want to remember the good things.
There’s a particular story about making apple sauce which I’m not going to tell here except to say it was not good. But this summer I canned my own apple sauce and as I was doing it I was thinking: my Grandma taught me how to do this.
Tomorrow is my no technology day. We’re going to celebrate Priscilla’s birthday with a day of football. (Bob said I could bring a book.)
Next week I have major events including my baking class on Wednesday and Arts & Lectures on Thursday. Not sure how much you will see me here but I will try.
As always: I appreciate all the comments and I’m visiting your blogs and photo streams but don’t always leave a note.