i’ve missed granny’s chex mix and grandpa’s famous gravy for quite some time. bear hugs, air kisses, buzzing hearing aids, perfectly matched outfits, bright and shiny jewelery, slide shows, giggling, thanksgiving relish trays, matching family reunion shirts, presents under the tree from “santa tanner” — all things of the past. it seems those memories slip away gradually… bigger cousins grow up and move on, other cousins move far away, your grandparents change homes– and the new one– even with that new house smell, just isn’t their home anymore to you. little by little those gaps expand as wide as the grand canyon and you find your visits are very different. even though my grandparents haven’t physically been my grandparents for a few years, they were there. that tangible fact was a safety net somehow. their absence now is… shocking.
death is an interesting thing. at times we fear it. other times it is a welcome guest to an ailing body. death can bring peace, but with that peace comes a hollowness that you didn’t realize existed. my friend told me death is like doing a new pilates exercise: you wake up the next day and places hurt that you didn’t even know you had.
my little granny died and i needed to be home. before i left arizona i got to sit with my grandpa– the hulk of an athlete reduced to a tiny frame by alzheimer’s and parkinson’s. we were only able to hold his fidgeting hands or stroke his leathered face while he slept… and then, he was gone, 11 days after granny. now i get ready to return home for a twin funeral and burial. a surreal experience. sadness, yes. but happiness to know that where they are the frailties of this life do not follow.