Okay, so I’ve been staring at the computer screen for several minutes, trying to find the ‘right’ words to write. And, here’s the thing – I don’t think there are ‘right’ words to use to describe a devastating death in the family. No, it wasn’t devastating because of how she died, she was getting older and her health was failing. But, it was devastating because I didn’t have the opportunity to spend that summer with her. Dreams were dreamt of how the time would pass, the conversations we would have while watching her favorite soap opera, and the memories she would share with my kids, her great-grandkids. Most importantly – I planned on making sure she knew what she meant to me.
It was devastating because she died without me knowing if she knew that very important piece of information. Because I was the crazy hysterical one at the funeral, I remember everyone comforting me with the words, “Carla, she loved you so much.” Not forgetting my manners, I would reply, “Thank you.” And, then, I continued wailing, because I knew she loved me. She demonstrated her love all the time. What I didn’t know was what was killing me inside, did she know how much I loved her?
When I think back to the few years before she passed away, I feel like a big ‘taker’ in the relationship. She would call me much more than I would call her. She would send me cards much more than I would send her cards. She showed a much greater interest in my life than I did in hers. The guilt of being so self-consumed and unaware of her needs made me feel like I owed her something – what did I owe her? and how will I make it up to her? were the only questions I had for myself.
(REMINDER: Before my grandmother died, I was dealing with latent feelings of postpartum depression that was neither diagnosed nor ever treated. The devastation and disappointment I felt during the funeral and immediately afterwards intensified with my mental condition of the time.)
And, just as death makes people behave in strange and unnatural ways, my family was not immune to this. Lots of harsh words were shared amongst one another as we fell apart, needing our glue to resurrect herself and make everything peaceful and cohesive again. But, that wasn’t going to happen and no one was willing, or able, to take grandma’s place. The result was not only a broken spirit and disappointment between family members, but a long period of silence and non-communication with my own parents.
When my husband arrived in Tulsa, I was not with my ‘family’. Instead, my kids and I were in a hotel, ready to leave everything and everyone. I wanted to move on, and bury the hurt deep in the ground, just as if it were inside it’s own coffin. And everyone knows it’s not a good idea to exhume dead bodies.
Until tomorrow –
to be continued…A Tale of Two Blogs, Chapter 10.
photo credit – pixabay.com