Tunes for Tuesday – Without You (Rent)

I’ll never forget when my grandmother died. It was very sudden. She was an amazing woman. So bright and energetic and fun. She had this amazing calendar, in her head, of every birthday of anyone who was important to her. She knew every  President and First Lady’s birthday that had served in her lifetime. She knew my ex-boyfriend’s birthdays. And her birthday cards to us always arrived exactly on that day, except Sunday of course. But it always amazed me how she timed it to arrive – no matter where in the country we lived, no matter how unreliable mail service can be – exactly on time.

My sister called  from 1000 miles away to tell me. I was so stunned but I had a little girl and I had to keep going. I remember I had to run to the store.

“Without you, the seeds root
the flowers bloom
the children play
The stars gleam
the poets dream
the eagles fly
without you” –  As I was driving to the store other people were driving, running stop signs, children were playing on the lawn, the wind even dared to continue to blow. I couldn’t believe the sun was shining. Didn’t they know my grandmother had just died?

“The Earth turns
the sun burns
but I die, without you” – I actually felt a piece of me missing. And I had so much regret. My last image of her was her standing, with her arms crossed across her chest, in front of her house as we drove away. We had visited, but not as long as we said we would. And we had cancelled dinner with her, wanting to get to the airport a little sooner without having to rush. She was disappointed. She was trying not to show it. But I still die a little each time I remember. The last afternoon I spent with her I disappointed her. I took for granted that I would be able to make it up to her on the next trip.
“The world revives
colors renew
but I know blue
only blue
lonely blue
willingly blue
Without you” – My world has been a little empty without her. I miss her feisty nature. Her quick, political banter. She was a die-hard Democrat. I swear I boned up on the Republican issues just so I could spar with her. She died just before the Bush/Gore election. How she would have loved watching them count chads. I missed her so much that Thanksgiving.

“Without you, the eyes gaze
the legs walk
the lungs breathe
The mind churns
the heart yearns
the tears dry without you” – She died 9 years ago and some days, like today, it feels like yesterday. I still dream about her. I think of her every time I see a cardinal or work a crossword puzzle. I drink coffee out of a cup that reminds me of her. I hate it that she never met the two little boys named after her husband and her son.
“Life goes on
but I’m gone
’cause I die, without you
without you” – I have experienced other loss in my life but her death hit me the hardest. For days after she died I honestly couldn’t believe that people were just going about their lives as if nothing had happened. Didn’t they know that a beautiful soul had just left this earth? Didn’t they know that Elsie was gone and the family and friends that loved her  were deeply grieving?

I still miss you so much, Grandma. So very, very, very much.


Filed under family, Music

23 responses to “Tunes for Tuesday – Without You (Rent)

  1. This is such a gorgeous post. I felt exactly the same way after my grandfather passed. And, at odd moments, it still hits me like a punch in the stomach that he’s gone.

  2. I am so glad I found your blog. You put into words some of the exact feelings I have regarding the loss of my brother. Thank you.

  3. My sincerest condolences to you, Mama Zen and Jennifer. Thanks for sharing in this post.

  4. What a beautiful tribute. You didn’t disappoint her; she just wanted more of the people she loved. I’m sure you’re passing it on.
    I still dream about my grandmother sometimes. I like to think she comes to “visit” me.
    I only hope I can be as precious to my grandchildren.

  5. Your Grandma sounds like the kind of person who would never in a million years begrudge you leaving early that one day. Don’t let it eat you up; I’ll bet she wouldn’t want you to feel guilty and would only want you to remember the good times.

    My grandfather passed away last year on Christmas day, so I really, really empathize with you.


  6. Good grief, I am sitting here crying like a baby. That is one of the most poignant, honest and raw tributes I have ever read.

    It’s no consolation but your continued love and the empty spot in your heart speak far more clearly than that day you left before dinner.

  7. Your grandmother will always be a part of you. She will continue to inspire you, keep you warm and give you that spunk to keep on sparring.

    As always, lovely post.

  8. A beautiful tribute to someone I am sure was an incredible woman. I am sorry for your loss. I lost my own grandmother many years back, and can still feel the ache that took over my body, the look on my brother’s face as I walked up the stairs to my parents’ house. It’s amazing what we remember, and important to never forget. Hugs to you and yours.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a very special woman….and I can tell that she will stay with you forever.

    I had a grandmother like that and it’s now thirty years since her death. She comes to mind often and I tell stories about her to this day.


  10. I don’t have clear memories of any of my grandparents since they all past away when I was young or even before I was born. What you have is one of the most valuable things in life: your sweet, loving remembrances of your grandmother. You’re blessed to have enjoyed each other’s presence. {{{hugs}}}

  11. Andrea – I’m sorry for your own ache. Thanks for sharing.

    Nancy & submom – Thanks for your kind words. I’m touched that so many were moved by this.

  12. Oh Jane…this is truly beautiful. How blessed your grandma is to have a loving, beautiful granddaughter to keep her spirit living strong and bright.

  13. angelcel

    Beautiful post. I think anyone who has gone through the loss of a loved one will recognise that awful other-worldly feeling just after – your world has stopped and yet everyone else is totally unaware and carrying merrily along. How can that possibly be?

    I too believe that the fact that you think about her so often means that your grandmother is still with you. You don’t see her, but she’s there.

  14. This was a nice post and having lost my own grandmother I can relate to how you feel.

  15. Having lost my own father and grandfather this Summer, and a lot of other relatives since 2000, the pain can linger sometimes (even when you move on)…and a song can trigger reminiscing memories a lot. Thanks for sharing a great memory with us.

    BTW, I have an Aunt (alive) who’s the EXACT same way as your Grandmother was. She remembers everyone’s birthday in the family, and sends out the cards that arrive always on time for their birthdays. It’s always great to have people like that in your family. 😆

  16. angel, robin & paradise – Thank you so much for your kind words. And I’m sorry too, for your losses. But it is so nice to know they live on in our memories and we can share those memories with others. Thanks for sharing yours.

  17. I so identify with you…my grandma was the love of my life. Even 2 and a half years later, I still pick up the phone! I was so lucky to use her wedding band at my wedding…and I feel like she is holding my hand daily. 😉 We are lucky to have had such angels in our lives!

  18. Pingback: Top 20 Songs Played On My iPod – Or, I Got Nothin’ For Tunes For Tuesday « Theycallmejane's Blog

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