For Granny-Happy Birthday. I Miss You
Twenty-Six years. Wow. I really don’t know how I made it. I don’t know how I got from there to here. I am not sure where here is, but I don’t know how I made it. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was sunny and I remember it as a usually warm day. Not hot in the least, but it was warm. I was attending school in Oak Park and my grandmother was in the hospital. My grandmother had a bad heart, so she was always in and out of the hospital. I think that my immaturity caused me to believe that it would be like any other time, she would be home. I remember thinking about my granny that entire day. For some reason I could not wait for class to get out. As soon as it did I went to the hospital. There was a kind nurse in the room when I arrived. I remember her touching my arm telling me that my grandmother might not recognize, me but that it would be ok.
My granny was sleeping so good. I sat in the chair in her room and looked out the window. I wasn’t moving. I wanted to be right there. I heard her stir and I looked over at her. She was staring at me like she really didn’t know me. That scared me. I waited. I didn’t want to scare her. I just sat there. My granny called me momma. I was stuck. I was glad that she was talking. I didn’t know how to answer her, so I said nothing. I took the brush from my purse and I brushed her hair. I was long again. My granny had fine straight, jet black hair. She’d cut it the year before, but it grew quickly. I brushed her hair and touched her face. We did this for a long time in silence. I looked at her after a while and she was sleeping. I watched the covers to make sure that they rose and fell. I sat in the chair again. I needed to pick up my son from day care, but I wasn’t ready to go. I wanted to be right there. I sat for another hour and granny was in and out of sleep.
I stood and kissed her. I pressed my lips to her forehead and hugged her. I was almost in the bed with her. I wasn’t ready to go. I wasn’t going to school the next day. I was going to come and sit with my granny. I kissed her hand and I told her that I would see her tomorrow. She said by Jacque. I smiled. She remembered me. I couldn’t look back. I knew that I would be embittered if I had. This was my mother, my grandmother, my friend. She raised me. We drank Iced coffee and listened to baseball. We played “21” and watched Days of Our Lives. We played Atari and watched Alf. I couldn’t remember a day or time that I had needed her and she wasn’t there.
That was the last day that I saw her alive. She died that night and it took a village to tell me. No one knew how that was going to go. The year prior my closest cousin had been murdered. He was like my brother. We were a year apart and we went everywhere together. I was faultless to him and he would do anything for me and I would do anything for him. I was not ready for another loss of this magnitude. How could I ever be ready? Everyone waited for me to break. I even waited for me to break. For the first time in my life I was silenced. No words, no songs, no nothing. The year after that is truly a blur. I don’t know what happened. I only remember July 1, 1991. That is the day that my aunt died. Three years in a row. Horrific loss, one after the other. My aunt and granny raised me, sacrificed for me, gave me what I didn’t even know that I needed.
I miss them. There are no words to describe or fill a hole that wide or deep. Not a day has gone by in twenty-six years that I have not thought of them. Not a single day. People say that you heal. I am not sure about that. I am not sure where it will begin or if it will begin or if I want it to begin. Does that mean I will forget them? That I wont think of them everyday? That seems like torture to me. I fight to remember how my granny’s dresser smelled when I pulled open the drawer. I fight for it, but it comes. I get still and I listen to hear my aunt say my name. It is faint sometimes, but I can still hear it. I struggle to remember my brother’s smile, but I can still see it and it still lights up a room. I can’t afford to forget.
Granny, know that I have not forgotten. I love you.