Monday evening, I learned that my grandmother died. That’s why I didn’t post anything yesterday. It was hard, harder than o thought it would be. She was 92, and I thought I was ready for it to happen. She wouldn’t live forever, after all. Nobody does.
I was wrong. Two days on, my emotions are still up and down, and a little voice in me is saying “granma can’t be dead! She’s granma!”
My Grandmother Todd is the only grandmother I remember meeting. I met my Grandmother Gant, of course. I’ve seen the photos. But I was two, I think, when she died. I have no memories of her.
We’d go visit my mom’s parents for two weeks each summer, during the years we lived in the United States. It was a 12 hour drive through the Appalachians and then along the Ohio to a little white house with a porch and a second floor my grandpa put in himself. There was a swing set in the back, and flowers with seed pods that popped and launched seeds, and an arbor with sour grapes, and odd little plastic things that my grandpa saved from the factory.
Grandma collected Avon bottles, and little statues, and displayed them in the cramped little living room. I’d spend hours staring at them, and imagining what they were. Never touching, mind. Just looking. And she had wind chimes in the living room. Sometimes, I’d just stand and brush them to make them jangle and clatter.
Grandma is the reason I know what cow heart, rabbit, and turtle taste like (beef, watery chicken, stringy chicken). I’d watch her cook sometimes, sitting on the stairs as she fried chicken. And I’d listen to her talk to my mom and dad, and to my aunts and then uncles. Most nights, we’d gather around the table and play Hearts or Rummy. She’d cackle with glee when she won a hand.
My dad always called her “mom”, and meant it. That always impressed me. It was the kind of relationship I decided I wanted with my in-laws, I decided, when I grew up.
I lived about an hour from her for the last 15 years, and I never got down to visit her as much as I wanted. Life got in the way, and granma would always be there for me with a hug, right? And I always managed to get down for the important things – birthdays and holidays. The news that we were going to have a baby and our son’s first road trip so she could hold her newest great-grandchild. And for funerals.
Now she’s gone. My sister n, when we told him, said he didn’t want her to go. That it made his heart hurt.
It makes my heart hurt, too. Because I don’t want her to go either.