Tuesday, March 08, 2005

She asked me not to weep...

...when this day came.

I’m sorry, Bobby. I can’t help the tears.

I am so angry. Why didn’t I listen to myself?

On the phone with Dad on Friday, I said I thought she was dying. I wanted to go see her. I begged him to buy me a plane ticket. “I need to see her before she dies.”

Oh, she’s not dying, he assured me.

I argued. I provided the facts. But the wall of denial would not crumble and fall. And my own hope grew.

I hadn’t written a letter to her since… when? I used to write her letters at least every other week. But drowning in school, the letters thinned. Thrusting my head into books about other people’s loved ones’ deaths, I couldn’t see what was coming.

My horoscope hinted that a death might come. But I shrugged it off. Every day brings death and dying into my life.

She was always so supportive of me. When I told her I thought I was gay, she said, “Well, we each dance to our own tune. Perhaps you should use a sperm bank if you decide to have a baby.” From it’s okay that you’re gay to sperm bank in that same first letter – I’m serious. She made me laugh and smile even in her seriousness.

And like grandmother, like grandchild. She danced to a tune that could only have been her own.

Why didn’t I visit? I am so angry at myself. I work with death all the time – why didn’t I listen to my own advice? What would $350 have been on my credit card compared to the chance to say goodbye. Loving memories are priceless; regret such a bitter pill.

Bobby is what we all called our grandmother.

I hope she didn’t die alone. I wish I could have held her hand as she breathed her last breath.

My grandmother, Cicely, Diane, Bobby. My grandmother who held me as my adolescent face shed tears of profound sorrow. My grandmother who learned to email so we could write her biography together more easily. My grandmother who had planned a trip to dance in Argentina when she had her stroke. My grandmother who hated the nursing home she was trapped in. My grandmother who loved me and whom I loved.

My grief isn’t eloquent or funny like so many others who can turn their bottomless sorrow into art. My grief lies flat and lifeless. Two-dimensional.

My grandmother died tonight at 5:30pm EST.

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