Two months back, I lost my grandmother to a heart attack. The day mom called to tell me of her demise, I can’t quite explain how I felt. I brushed it off. When we were holding the wake for her, it didn’t seem real to me. Even when I saw her being buried, it still felt unreal. Sometimes I pass by her house and pretend like I just missed her because she maybe went to buy milk. My mind refused to accept that it was over, done, that she is gone.
On one particular night, a few weeks after the funeral, I couldn’t sleep. Tired as I was, I just couldn’t sleep. Then from no where, this burst of pain surged through my system, and I just balled into my pillow. Heavy, heaving sobs wrecked my frame. How I ended up into the dark living room, I can’t remember, but I do remember the distinct feeling of her presence. She was there. Just watching. Maybe she had come to find out why I hadn’t cried. Maybe she wanted to just check on me. Maybe she was just being her usual self, going around making sure all her kin were okay. I don’t know. All I know is that she was there, and it felt like I was caving in. It took a long prayer for release and a heavy head to sleep through to the morning. That was the last time I felt her.
My grandmother was a living example of what a strong woman is. Having six children, no education and married to a man who at some point was extremely abusive to her, she dug herself out of her situation through blood, sweat and tears. Regardless of all that, she still continued to live with her husband (my grandfather- he was a good dad and grandfather by the way) and remained dutiful to her very last breadth. As someone who had been through so much, she was unexplainably strong for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the family. You just lost your job? No worries, she’ll support you until you are back on your feet. You just got divorced? You can stay with her until forever if you need to. Having identity issues, figure yourself out at her house. She was an extremely generous person with unmatched sarcasm.
Having been all that to so many people, shouldn’t there be some kind of a happy ending? Is there no reward at the end of the journey? Work hard, get educated, save money, invest, raise a family, climb some imaginary career ladder, and then what? Enjoy your sunset years? What if you don’t get to see them? What then? It all seems like one big lie. A cruel “HAHA, In your face!”
I miss her. The way you miss someone you can always call. Except I can’t. I can’t have tea with her. She would always offer, but I was always in a hurry- you know, career woman. I always thought she would be there to see my babies (when I eventually got them). In her reprimanding tone, scolding me on how I can’t even wrap a diaper, while taking matters in her hands and doing it herself. Now, I have nowhere to go and figure myself out from, because her house is not the same without her. I have no one to force feed me oranges and other assortments of food. I have no one who checks on me just to check on me. She would call me just to tell me she was well and wanted to know I was too. As someone who often is called when someone needs a favor, this was priceless.
I sometimes wonder about where she has gone. Is it better? Is it a world of nothingness? Would she want to come back? Did she make peace with her maker? Was it all worth it?
Sigh! Anyway, when all is said and done, I miss her, and sometimes it overwhelms me.