A Public Post about my Grandma
In group therapy today, we talked a lot about the deaths of loved ones, which has made me think of my Grandma, the first person in my life to die. I wanted to make a public post about her because I know from my few and scattered memories of her and from what others have said that she was a remarkable woman.
She died when I was seven, a time I did not really understand what death was. I remember the night before one of our gerbils had died, so in the morning when my mom sat me down to tell me 'bad news', I thought another gerbil had died. But she told me Grandma had died during the night and that she had driven to Farmersville. I think I was more astonished by the news that you can actually drive at night and that my mom could stay awake that long than by the news of my grandmother's death. I just didn't know what it meant.
I remember being in Grandma's kitchen and seeing my daddy cry. It was the first time I'd ever seen my dad cry. I remember seeing him and my mom hugging, and that they were significantly taller then than they are now. I don't remember much about my grandfather at that time. He'd already had two strokes and to my young mind all he ever did was sit in his chair, blow his nose really loud, and look like a cute old man. He was really cute. There were so many people at Grandma's house, I had no idea what was going on.
I remember being at the funeral home. Again, I had no idea what was going on or why all the people were there. To me Grandma's death was not a great big deal. She was just dead, right? I was too young to know how much that really mattered. I remember sitting on a couch and seeing so many old people. Daddy came to sit by me and asked if I wanted to go see the body. I said no, because I really didn't want to get up and wade through all the people and I'd never seen a dead body before. So he asked me if I wanted to say a prayer, and I said yes because I knew that's what he wanted me to say. So we sat on a little couch in the middle of the funeral home and prayed. That really gets me everytime I think about it. First, I regret not having seen the body. What I wouldn't give now for one more memory of my Grandma. Second, that my dad prayed with me. Or maybe for me. I thought he was so silly at the time, that praying was a silly thing to do. He loved Grandma so much, even though he was the son-in-law he says he always felt like the son.
I don't remember the service, or being at the cemetary. And I don't remember the first time I really missed Grandma. Now, I think that seven is old enough to understand death and don't know why I didn't. Maybe it's not old enough, I was only in the first grade. I know in the last 11 years I've cried a lot for her and for me. Over how unfair it is that my older cousins got so much more time with her. How she didn't get to see me graduate, didn't get to see me in band, how she won't be at my wedding or see my children. How she was the grandparent I was most likely to be very close to but she was the first to die.
So, that's my story about my grandmother. I guess it's dedicated to Rachel in my therapy group and the friends she lost, and to Elizabeth and her family over the recent loss of her grandmother.