I walked into grief class fifteen minuets late, thinking that I was fifteen minuets early. I sat in the only open chair, quickly settled and scrambled for what to say in my introduction. Shit I missed the prompt. My turn comes I freeze and then launch into a Reagon in an interview speech about how I think this is an extremely relevant way to help people, it’s important work albeit hard.
What I meant to say was:
Because I have been absolutely devastated and I will be absolutely devastated again. I need to know how to not totally lose my shit. I’m a mental apocalypse prepper if you will. I’m here because my grandma died and my boyfriend is going to.
It’s not that I’m delusional and think that me and all of you good people have drank from the everlasting well. It’s that I -foolish it may be- believe that I me and mine will grow into old age. We’ll die in our sleep when we’re good and ready…. or we’ll all go out in a massive weather event directly related to global warming… but either way my-our- death/s will either be timely or communal.
When I was six my grandma had open heart surgery. From that day forward I kept a silent semi-concious tally of the days that we had left together. In high school I began writing poetry about her to brace myself for her loss. I knew for thirteen years that I was going to lose her and that it would be the most horrendous thing that would ever happen to me. I was right.
I didn’t live those thirteen years in fear. When I was with her the thought of loosing her never crossed my mind. Instead it creeped up on me as I looked in the mirror, when I woke up in the middle of the night and as the last jump and skip that my brain would make in a series of thoughts.
It’s been NINE years since I’ve seen and held that beautiful soul. I’ve started talking to her more and more lately, but I’m quickly deduced to water works. I want to answer back for her in her voice with exactly the thing that she would say. But those memories are fading into a sun bleached blur more and more every day. I wish that I would have written all of it down. I wish that there was a tape. I wish that there was a recording. I wish so badly that there was a way in this earthly realm that I could hear her just one last time. And then tie that time to my wrist as a house arrest bracelet for my despair.
She’d say Reagon Cara in the most sweetly concocted blend of disapproval and prolific love.
She’d call me RC and pop some delicious confection in my mouth, a cookie, a candy, a fire ball.
She’d call me doll baby and contort herself to accommodate an adult size version of me and the always impossibly tiny version of her in her rocking chair.
She’d say- Ohhh yeah tell me all about it. And I did. Infant, teen, grad student, she will always be my ear.
She’d say every time she helped me change my clothes- skin the cat. And once after her stroke- I waited on you like one little pig waits on another. She was unrehearsed poetry and theatrics living the life of small time socialite and Grammy.
She’d say once- but Reagon is the most honest person that I’ve ever known. And I stood up straighter for the rest of my life.
Last week I went back to her kitchen. I stepped down off of the spindled wooden chair under the wall phone. And looked at every inch of that kitchen. A green plastic bowel on the counter. I could smell it, clean, piping hot, delicious. I could taste it clean, piping hot, delicious. The brown patterned low pile carpet under my feet. Her kitchen feels simply like a place you want to be. What I wouldn’t give to set your table one last time my darling Grammy.
For ever yours,