Tag Archives: grandmother

She’s Moved On And So Should You

Her crossed arms answered her question before she spoke.

She didn’t have to speak. The look on her face. The trademark crossed arms. Her favored one hip stance. All did the speaking for her.

Disappointment.

“It’s just been such a long week. And I really want to get to the airport,” I tried to explain. Twisting in my chair.

“But what about dinner? You have to eat, ” my grandmother said.

Leaning forward, I tried to justify my actions. “But Anna is so exhausted. I am, too. I’m so sorry. I know we promised but I want to avoid the traffic. We’ll pick up something quick on the way.”

Silence.

“Do you think you’ll be back for Thanksgiving?” she asked, eyebrows raised. Hopeful.

“I’m not sure,” I said, letting my voice trail off. I knew I wouldn’t. Maybe Christmas. Maybe next spring. But I was tired of the 1200 mile journeys. I wanted a break.

“It’s OK,” my sister chimed in, “I’ll bring the kids by next week and we can have lunch.” Trying to come to my rescue. It’s little consolation. I’m the one who lives so far away.

Then we said our goodbyes. And watched her on the driveway with her arms crossed. Not smiling, yet trying not to look disappointed.

Twelve years later the image haunts me.

“You have to stop beating yourself up over this,” my sister says to me over the phone.

I shift uncomfortably. I close my eyes. “I know. But I can’t.”

“There was no way you could know she was going to die. No one knew. She was always so vibrant. Even the doctor didn’t see it coming.”

“But I should have at least had dinner with her like we promised,” my eyes watering remembering my last broken promise to her. “I never even called her. That was the last time we spoke.”

“She’s moved on and so should you.” My sister is tired of this conversation. So am I. But that image of her still haunts me. That last image.

“Do you really think she’s forgiven me?” I ask, standing up now, watching a cardinal on our birdfeeder.

“Yes. She forgave you moments after you left,” my sister sighs into the phone.

“Ok. Thanks.” Not convinced, I hang up the receiver. And walk to the window to watch the birds flit back and forth. Leaning on one hip. Brow furrowed.

And arms crossed.

(This post was inspired by KitchWitch’s post which was inspired by the writing prompt at Write On Edge. Please visit Write on Edge   for more inspired writing!)

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, family, Lessons Learned

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.

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Filed under family, Music