In a week it will have been two years since my grandmother passed away. Here is what I wrote the day after she passed away and this is what I wrote after her funeral. (A Warning to new readers and a Reminder to old readers: I had an infatuation with gratuitous language during that time, particularly the F-Bomb.)
When someone you really love dies there's no way you'll forget the big stuff. I'll always remember the way she called me "son" and how she used to repetitively slap the inside of my thighs, how the phrase "lordy, lordy, lordy" could be translated to mean many things and her coconut pie with the mile high meringue.
The things you forget are the things you think aren't important enough to remember. But then you are jarred back into the realization that, when it comes to the people you love, there are no insignificant things. The matter that surrounded them, matters.
So I share this description to prevent me from forgetting...
Her home was located on Price Street in Carthage, TX from the time I was very small until the day we had to move her into the Nursing Home. It was the only house on the block after Ms. Pace's place burned down in the late 80's. This was after Ms. Pace died, and no one was in the house.
The house was small. Three bedrooms. Actually, two real bedrooms and the back storage room where my grandfather slept until he died in '92. My grandparents had separate rooms. I don't know this for sure, but I suspect they only stayed in the same room twice, producing my mom and my aunt, then deciding other arrangements would be better.
The front porch of the plastic sided frame house was concrete with cheap garden astroturf, but it was a front porch nonetheless. Enough space on it for three lawn chairs, a few potted plants, a couple of aluminum pans holding water and food for stray animals, and windchimes. To the left of the porch was my grandmother's favorite project, her rose bushes that she tended until it became too difficult for her to get down the steps.
All kind of theories are given on what will make the world a better place. I think we need more front porches.
The front door led you into the living room to your left and the dining room-kitchen to the right. In the living room were a couch, recliner, chair, pictures of grandkids all over the wall and a television left over (and still working) from the late 1970's. Wood panel walls and a collection of bells and angels. About one and a half steps from the living room was the dining room-kitchen. Actually, the house was so small you could consider all three rooms the same room.
The most important things about the kitchen were the breadbox-- in which the Saltines were stored, the microwave-- in which the bread was stored, the cookie jar that held cookies during my early years and pop tarts and marshmallows during my later years, and a cast iron skillet that made cornbread.
There was a guest room. This room put me to sleep. Upon laying your head on the guest room bed, I couldn't last five minutes without falling under it's spell. That bed is the bed I lay my head on every night now.
The guest bedroom is where I snooped through some old pictures, uncovering a wedding photo of my mom and some guy who wasn't my dad-- unlocking the secret that is rarely mentioned.
The bathroom was small. All I remember about it was when I sat on the toilet I was two feet from the sink where my grandfather kept his false teeth in a cup on the counter.
The backyard was my playground. It had leaves and that was about it.
If you made it to the end looking for a moral, I hate to disappoint you. I just needed to talk.