Monday, June 11, 2007

Home, Without Gram

I didn't post much about being home the weekend before this just past because I wanted some time to think and reflect on the myriad of thoughts that jumbled in my brain, and the feelings that tangled in my heart.

This was my first visit home after Gram's death. As I pulled up in the drive I was so excited to be home and couldn't wait to hug my mom and dad! At the same time, I felt awkward knowing that Gram would not be sitting at her place at the kitchen table playing solitaire or working a word puzzle in the paper, nor would she be relaxing with a book while watching tv in the living room. I was somewhat apprehensive about going on in for fear of how strange that would be, but, my excitement persuaded me without much effort and I hurried to the door.Mom and Dad

Mom greeted me at the door as soon as I arrived and it felt so good to get a hug from her! Next was dad! I'm home! Yay!

There is nothing like getting that warm hug from parent's that love you! I am so blessed!

After spending some time chatting, Mom prepared dinner a bit early because I made good time and arrived ahead of schedule, (plus...I left REALLY early in the morning because I was too excited and wanted to get home!)

After dinner I went to my jeep to get my stuff. Then came the dreaded question that I just knew mom would ask, "Do you want to sleep in Gram's room?"

I had expected this question and the dilemma of answering. So many thoughts were racing; it's GRAM's room (not mine). It would only makes sense so nobody has to drag out the foldup bed, it's a lot easier for me to sleep there. I can't, nooooo, that is Gram's room. Are you crazy, there was a dead body in there! Right on the bed I will be sleeping on! It is already so weird because Gram not being here is so noticeable to me, how can I sleep in HER room, on HER bed.

I must have cringed because Ma noticed my discomfort at this question and said "you don't have to."

Well, I got my luggage and things and walked down the hall and turned left at the end, and into Gram's room. My heart sunk. I could feel emptiness. From the inside out.

I can't believe Gram is gone.

And it's amazing how life just goes on.

It goes on like it doesn't even care.

Sun comes up. Sun goes down. Birds chirp, nest and eat worms. Indian's game plays on tv. Neighbors mow their lawns. Kids ride their bikes down the sidewalk. The clock chimes on the hour. It feels like it's not fair. It's not fair. Gram's NOT HERE!

Oh, so many thoughts crashing!

I don't know if it was intentional or not, but I ended up alone in Gram's room. Ma was there to start and shared how she has cleaned out a lot of stuff, which left a lot of room for my things while I stayed that weekend. Then, she left the room, and I found myself alone.

I stood there and looked around.

It was so strange. I don't think I had ever been in Gram's room before. There was that jewelry box thing on her dresser. It always scared me when I was a child because it looks like an old house. It stands upright on the chest of drawers and is quite large to hold the many rings, necklaces, pins and other jewelry that Gram wore. The bars on some of the "windows" were broken and in the dimlit room it looked more like a haunted house. I remember being afraid when I spent the night at her house as a young kid because that "haunted house" thing always creeped me out. It doesn't scare me anymore, it just reminds me of Gram.

So, I explored some of what is housed in that jewelry box and in some other boxes around the room too. I looked around and saw some of the many books Gram read neatly displayed on the tv stand. I started to think, hey, I can do this. I can sleep here.

So, then I looked at the bed. Mom had described to me how she had found Gram's body that night she passed away, so I envisioned that scene in my mind's eye. I felt tears welling up in my eyes and quickly shook it off.

I sat down on the bed, almost defiantly. I was casting aside the fear and the "creeped out" feeling I was having. I did decide to sleep there, and I did that very night.

The first night was the worst. As I laid there in the darkness, I was still having a bunch of different thoughts, but the few that stand out were: My Gram died here. I'm sleeping where there was once a dead body...and a new thought...One moment there is a person, a soul, a soul housed in a body, a broken body, and now all that is left there is a shell. What is it about that moment a person leaves their body? I also remembered the couple of times I have seen a dead body, and, there is no person there. All I saw was an empty shell of a person I once can feel that there is no life in there. Weird. So, I was having thoughts like that and about what happens One Minute After You Die.

I didn't sleep very well that night. I was disturbed that I was now part of all the life that goes on after someone dies. Sun comes up. Sun goes down. New people move in to Gram's room, sleep on her bed, and rummage through her stuff.

Speaking of rummaging through stuff. Gram and my aunt both had awesome stamp collections of which I know nothing about! Anyone know any avid stamp collectors? or appraisers?

Mom had gone through some of Gram's things and offered me Gram's high school class ring from the "Academy of the Immaculate Conception - 1934" which is now a permanent fixture on my finger (because I can't get it off! LOL). I also have a necklace that my Gram cherished and "always wore". My sisters received some other items from the "Gram Always Wore" collection. Mom offered a lot more of Gram's stuff to me, but honestly I don't need more "stuff", and Mom is trying to get rid of "stuff". I said to Ma...."What is wrong with us, most families break apart and end up fighting over 'stuff' like this, and we can't give it away!" LOL

My family just doesn't cherish "stuff" I guess. We like nice things, who doesn't, but we'd rather cherish the people in our lives.
Gram in June
I cherish my memories of Gram. I found a picture of her that I have printed off and use as a book marker. I like the picture because it is as though Gram is looking right into my eyes, and I like to think she is possibly remembering me. She is also wearing the necklace that is now in my possession. It is actually a coin from 1928, framed, and made into a necklace. She treasured it because her father gave it to her. I treasure it because it was Gram's. It is only fitting to have a "Gram bookmarker" because Gram's head was often buried in a book.

So, being home without Gram was a new experience. She is dearly missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment