Death of My Grandmother (Part 2)

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….. I watched her fade before my eyes. The woman whose raucous laughter filled our house, now lay mumbling quietly to herself. She called on the names of ancestors long passed. I saw the fear in her eyes, not fear for herself, but for all the tasks she felt she had left incomplete. I saw the move from the bustling, busy cook, to the tired, shaking hand that could no longer hold a light cup of water. I remember what if felt like, to place my hands on her still chest. I remember the fear I felt, the disbelief that she was really gone. I remember the defeated look of my aunt as she saw her slipping away before our eyes. I remember the calm with which my mother folded gran’s lifeless arms in the position she once loved. I can still feel the bitter sweet irony flooding through my body as I saw the belated efforts of paramedics to revive her. I can still feel the sadness as I watch the undertakers roll her body away, the blue cloth bag looking too still, a reminder that there lay an empty shell, not the woman who spent her all for those around her.

The day I returned to work, I sat on the edge of tears. Controlled, but grieving. When my boss mentioned something about the death, an image emerged unbidden. I saw the future, our cold stove, where we once cooked together, only a summer ago, now covered in empty loveless pots. It was that moment in which I wanted to cry the most.I remember the amusement I felt at the thought of having two funerals. One in this foreign, familiar home, another in the warmth of my homeland.

I sit in the funeral, watching the images of her life waltz slowly across the screen. The impish girl high up in the tree, the young headmistress laughing contentedly with her friend, the sweet smile of her newly married soul, the gigantic laugh caught mid-shot, as we celebrate her 75th birthday. I look at the shell in the casket, and I understand. This is not the end. This was her time. Her chance to rest. Her moment to sleep, relieved from the pain she never spoke of. It’s a small comfort at the time, but we all know. The disease eating her from the inside, can hurt her no more.

It is not the second funeral that offers the finality. It is not the image of the stones closing around her casket. It is the memory of my aunt breaking down in tears, as she tries to begin her speech. It is the memory of my cousin, hugging his father, face in his chest, as he tries to hide his tears. It is the silence that now lies, as the empty spot on her bed remains. It is the sight of her empty chair, as we unconsciously glance at its emptiness. It is the sight of all her clothing, some yet untouched, as we empty out the draws. It is the feeling of loss, as I smell her laundered sweater, the one she wore when she was admitted to the hospital. It is the feel of her palamino, as I rub  it between my fingers. It is the sight of her lovely pictures, as they face me on the wall.

Kadeen Nichelle Oksana Waldron

Thursday, June 14, 2012.

Part One

3 thoughts on “Death of My Grandmother (Part 2)

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