Friday, June 06, 2008

Ode To My Grandmother

My trip to Chicago over the Memorials' Day weekend was going pretty well.

Kicked it with my friends. Paid for the wedding cake. FINALLY got bridesmaids dresses out the way, I won't even mention the fact that it took over 3 hours to find something for every single girl, even got the last of the addresses for the family.

Life was going pretty well. Really just a standard long weekend for me when I do blow into town.


Sunday night. I'm out kicking it in the streets, my friends and I chatting it up over dancing and Patron shots. My last night in Chicago until I come back for the wedding. Chants of "We're going to get T fucked up".

Plans of club hopping, showing me the new "hot" spots in the Chi, plans of coming home long enough to grab my bags and jet to the airport.

Don't know what really made me dig in my purse but when I was my mother calling.

Weird. Wonder what she wants, esp. since she's blown up my phone since 11:00pm

Rolling my eyes thinking it's something stupid, I mean my mother has called me before asking where did she place her pantyhose...when I live in Virginia.

I pick up...and honestly, my world crumbles.

I have to get to the grandmother isn't breathing.

Not my grandmother...what?! huh? I just spoke to earlier that day! She was fine! Joking and laughing with me while I teased her about her ancient phone book with the pages missing and only she can decipher.

Not breathing? Surely my mother is joking....but her tone tells me otherwise.

I guess I get hysterical because next thing I know one of my friends is ushering me down the street away from the prying eyes of the crowd.

Hands in my hair, arms wrapped around me, soothing words in my ear. My grandmother is going to be just fine. I'll get to the hospital, she'll be in intensive care or something yet still alive and well.

I called Hubbs, probably sounding hysterical and babbling like an idiot, funny enough, I called him for a ride to the hospital. My girls of course offered but I was like nah, go on and kick it. Don't let me be the party pooper.

And I knew he could get me to the hospital the quickest. We're talking about a man who once made a 90 mile trip in 15 minutes when my rental car flipped over on the road over 3 years ago.

He's in shock. I'm in shock. All I'm thinking about is getting to the hospital and being with my grandmother. Praying that she is alive. Praying that God wouldn't be so cruel to take one of the last few good person of this world. Praying he wouldn't be so cruel to take someone near and dear, someone who I love more than life itself, someone who I've spoken on the phone with hours earlier- away from me.

He must not have been in the listening mood.

My grandmother was already gone when I burst into the door 20 minutes later, hubby trailing after me, no shoes as I kicked them off in the car, feet cold and muddy.

...And I just lost it.

My grandmother, my sweet grandmother, just lying there.

It's like my brain still haven't wrapped around this. I can't even write this without tears clouding my vision.

I don't think anyone, not even me, realize how much I loved that woman. How much my heart is broken. How there is a huge void in my heart that I don't think will heal anytime soon. My grandmother was supposed to live until 119. Not 68 years old. Not in the prime of her life, not when I still need her. She was 1/2 of my world, the other 1/2 reserved for my mother.

It's like the past week or so I've been in a daze. I've been agigated, bottled up tight. I don't want sympathetic words! I don't want to hear the "Oh she's in a better place", "God doesn't make mistakes", "You and your family are in my prayers", "The hurt goes away..." etc.

I want my fucking grandmother!

The same woman that I saw that Saturday making taco salad when I dashed in to get my wedding dress. The same woman whose cheeks I kissed before I ran out the door, never stopping to look back because she's always been there. The woman who I wasn't done loving and needing in my life.

I haven't slept, my family sent me back home that Monday stating that my presence wasn't "needed" *no malice, apparently I was two seconds from being sedated at the hospital" and I needed to be far away to relax, to accept, away from the curious eyes of well wishers, esp. since I went hysterical on a family member who tried to ask me about my upcoming wedding, I guess to get my mind off of my grandmother, and I went crazy-like I give a fuck about a wedding right now.

At work I was just in a daze. Didn't really talk to anyone, folks just gave me a wide berth. I guess I gave enough murderous gazes to anyone who dared stepped forward with some type of generic sympathy.

I had to walk out to prevent myself from taking my anger, my frustration, my grief out of others, I've had to abruptly hang up phones, cut off text messages, just isolate myself from others. I couldn't even make the phone calls to my friends to let them know of the funeral arrangements. I couldn't just form the words to say I have to bury my grandmother.

I've heard whispers in the family that I'm wrong to have completely shut myself away from the world. She was their mother, their grandmother too. They're hurting as well and we need to stick together to get over this, lord know my grandmother held our dysfunctional family together. I just couldn't be around the family.

I know it's probably not healthy. I refused to call people, take phone calls, or even associate with most of the family. I mainly did any talking late at night...around 3-4am when I was up looking at the ceiling, my aunt or cousins calling me...calling Hubbs make sure I haven't threw myself through the window.

I flew back in town on Sunday...this time it wasn't such a joyous occasion. During the flight I prayed my plane would go down so that I can be with my grandmother.

He wasn't listening that day either.

It was weird coming back to Chicago and it wasn't something I looked forward to. When my grandmother's car pulled up at the airport it was weird not to see her smiling face in the driver's seat. I hesitated to get in the car.

I hesitate when "Grandma" shows up on my caller id...knowing it's not her but my aunt or my cousin.

I hesitated to walk into the funeral home, after having one of three breakdowns prior to the funeral. Had to be coaxed into the limo. Had to be coaxed into the funeral home.

Touched her face one last time before they shut the coffin. Couldn't tell you three words spoken during the funeral.

Had to look away when they lowered her into the ground. That was it. Officially she's never coming back except in my dreams and memories.

I loved her. And I know she loved me.

I know it's probably not healthy. I just can't shake my overwhelming grief. I can't help but replay and scrutinize everything from that weekend. Maybe it's the guilt that I feel, I usually always see her when I come to Chicago, make it a point to spend time with my grandmother, to wrap myself in her tiny arms and thank the stars that I have someone like her in my life. This time, so consumed with wedding stuff, I saw her for about 15 minutes in person and maybe a 15 minute phone conversation while I in town.

I know it'll take time but right now I just can't write. It was a struggle just to write this. I can't say when I'll fully come back to the blog world I don't think it'll be anytime soon.

When I say my grandmother was the sweetest person you would ever have met, I mean that. She was a breathe of fresh air in my cynical world.

I'm going to miss her.

RIP Mrs. Saundra Jean Lawshea
April 26, 1940--May 26, 2008