Friday, November 18, 2005

Nine Years Ago Today

I still remember that day, although most of it has been lost to time like any other normal day. I had just gotten home from classes and my then girlfriend told me that my mother had called and wanted me to stay near the phonne so I wouldn't miss her call. I immediately knew something was wrong, my mind raced over the possibilities...I waited for what seemed like hours dreading that call, and then it finally came.

I had always thought how unreal it looked and unlikely it was that a person to actually burst into tears, three words from my mother proved me wrong..."We lost Grandma" tore me open before I fully comprehended its actual meaning. I remember slamming my fist into the wall repeatedly, so hard that I believe that if someone would've been on the other end I would have killed them, how I did not break my hand I will never know.

Most of the rest is a blur, I remember at that moment that my decision to leave Washington and head to Oregon for college was a big mistake, I was away from the only thing that really mattered to me, family and even more so my grandmother who was one of the pillars that gave strength to this insecure kid trying to find his way. I also remember the intense guilt I felt that lasted for years because I was supposed to call her only days earlier, but decided against because Thanksgiving was coming up and I would see her then, I have finally forgiven myself for that, because I know she wouldn't have any of that.

What I also remember... walking into my grandparents home surrounded by family and all I could see was my grandpa, unlike the man that I grew up aroound. He was strong and steady, and stern at times, but before me was a man lost and broken, it almost hurt as much to see him like that than to hear those words telling me my grandma had passed away.

As a family we cried and laughed as we shared stories and our take on grandma. I, like the rest of the family was numb, I can't remember how long I stayed. I remember the service and seeing her brother Walt's eyes, I had never seen the level of sadness and anguish in another person eyes before...that alone nearly broke my heart.

Maybe the worst part for me was that I was scheduled to be back in Oregon shortly to take my GRE's to get into gradute school, at that moment school and Oregon were the further thing from my mind, I needed family....but I went. I remember trying to keep it together for my test, I had done well on pre-tests and was hopeful that I could get into the upper range of schools I was applying to...That lasted until the actual test, when it all came flooding out. I remember struggling to read the questions through my tears and swelling eyes, and the looks from others...what a time.

I think this entry got heavier than I intended but I feel better nonetheless. I also remember the great times with grandma; her always calling me "fat rabbit" when I played a practical joke on her or told her a fib just to wait for her reaction... her calling me "Billy Fish". somehow it was okay for her and no one else to say it...I remember how me and Gaylen would laugh to ourselves in the backseat as grandma hit the gas and brake pedal with her feet like a champion boxer worked the speed bag... and oh yes I remember the woman that used to steal french fries. God love her, see spared me some serious carbs.

I guess they say it gets easier..maybe it does. I'm sorry that some of my younger cousins didn't get a chance to really know her, for she was an incredible woman and I try to bring honor to her memory each and every day.

We miss you Gram


At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Moi said...

Thanks. I still feel like I live with her. Alida has so many of mom's habits that it is positively scary. There is no way she could have learned them, they are definitely genetic. Like the cookie dough bowl in the fridge chilling with the wooden spoon still in place covered over by a 'tea towel'. Whevever I discover another telltale sign, I usually look quickly around because I'm pretty sure that mom was there and did it. Now I know, it was Alida. She would buy decorator Ajax if they sold it here. What goes around comes around and Mom will be around for a long long time to come. I think Margy summed it up, "location, location, location". What a hoot.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger James Zimmerman said...

When I open a jar of molasses she comes out like a genie and flows through me. When I pick red huckleberries I see her face in the shiny berry-skin saying "Two cups!"
When I see a flour-sifter I think of her grinding clouds of flour. Then she disappears in the clouds and they settle over everything.
I'm consoled by thoughts of Grandma incarnating in small ways throughout the family. And in the realization that her example helped me find and hold on to a real lady and a kindred spirit in Heidi. Missing Grandma helps me appreciate what I have and try my best to show that I appreciate it. I doubt as a boy I ever dreamt that a pure lady can instruct a me in how to be a better man.

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Gaylen said...

amen on all accounts they are all true and special to all of us in our own special ways. She was the greatest, classiest lady any of us have ever known.

my neck still hurts from those off and on's on the gas pedal. ; )


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