My Grandma died last Wednesday. Not altogether a surprise, but still a shock. When someone you love is 95, you just know they're not realistically going to live another twenty years. But she's essentially been my only grandparent for 25 years and I've never experienced life without Grandma in it. I suppose I still won't. She will always be a part of me. But knowing she's gone, and seeing her in a coffin, is still a shock. I know she's going to rise, put on a new body, and we'll be together again one day. And that does help.
I am not equipped, or emotionally ready, to write a tribute to Grandma. That was done quite well by my brother Seth who wrote a poem about Rhubarb Pie. (Maybe he'll let me post it on here?) My brother Jonathan read it at the funeral dinner--and as he said to me, "Just when you congratulate yourself for getting through it without breaking down, you start blubbering." Well, he said something along those lines.
And my sister April has posted some beautiful photography in Grandma's honor on her blog.
So I am not that talented, or I am still too close to it. I don't know which.
I am sure I will write about it . . . how kind she was and how my mother says she never gossiped, she never said a bad word about anybody no matter what. How Jonathan and I used to go to "Summer Camp" at her farm and pick blackberries in our special spot, run around in the woods and fields. We'd stay with Grandma in her house in town and watch a LOT of TV--stuff we'd never be allowed to watch at home. She played bank and restaurant with us. She loved to garden, pick blueberries, can vegetables, cook and bake. She loved to work. And she loved to go for a ride in the country. She always put others ahead of herself. She didn't want us to go to any trouble for her . . . to bother anybody to bring her home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though we wanted to. And I only remember her getting mad at us once or twice. She was happiest when she was doing something for somebody else. But she liked her soap operas, too.
Maybe I will write about it some day, though it may not be a good poem, like "Rhubarb Pie."
Instead, I will title it--
I kissed her tissue-paper soft cheek to say good-bye
And remembered days and years of doing the same,
Stopping for lunch between classes
Lunch meat sandwiches with a big hunk of iceberg lettuce.
“It always tastes better if someone else makes it.”
The smell in the kitchen mornings at the farm
As the heater popped and buzzed
And David Jeremiah talked on the ancient radio.
I said I loved her bedroom suit and
She gave it to me when I was thirteen.
My daughter sleeps in her bed now.
She loved us well.
I came to help her clean one day
But she didn’t feel like cleaning.
She wanted to go for a drive and
The two of us had an adventure I will never forget.
She held my newborn baby girl with joy.
And later, the boy sat on her lap at the nursing home,
Smiling up at her.
As he ran around the room that day, chasing balloons,
And she smilingly blew out the candles,
It was the last time I would see her.
The last time I’d kiss her good-bye.
Say, “I love you.”
On this earth.
She’s at rest.
The broken crippled body holds her no more.
One day she’ll rise and so will I,
To dwell in glory.