Fading Photos

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My first memory of you is your small, dark, smoky apartment. Even though it was a small, dark, smoky apartment, we would always meet there to visit and no one seemed to not want to. I always thought “visiting” was boring. I instead would find other things to do with my cousins like play hide-and-go-seek, look at New Kids on the Block trading cards or play tag. I didn’t understand why grown ups liked to sit around and talk. How boring is that?!

I don’t ever remember you raising your voice or becoming excited over much. You were pretty quiet, but you were deeply intense. I feel like my memories are so long ago and I was so much younger that it is hard for me to know the difference between MY memories and other people’s stories about you.

You taught me how to play solitaire and gin rummy. You had wooden and metal puzzles in your coffee table cabinet in the front room. I remember after school (when you lived in town) I would sit and play with those. That was boring too. I remember being very bored when I was older and had to go to your house. I did really enjoy the solitaire and gin rummy though.

I don’t ever remember having deep conversations or anything else. From what I remember and what I have learned over the years, you are the strongest prayer warrior in our family. You never forgot a birthday or anniversary and always made sure to send a card with a five dollar bill in it, even though you couldn’t really afford to. You were a happy person, always smiling. Always praying for everyone. You had a huge heart and loved your family. I remember you were so tiny and frail, I thought I would hurt you when I gave you hugs.

Knowing myself more now than I did when I was younger, I know that I get a lot of my traits from you. I love making lists, about A LOT of things. It helps with my anxiety, which I also get from you. I am very spiritual and love family and spending time together. I am best friends with my mom and see you in her as well.

I don’t remember the exact year you passed away, but I remember I was in my early 20’s. I remember it got very hard for my mom at the end and she was helping as much as she could to take care of you. I went with her to your room at the nursing home a few times and took out your garbage and tidied up and made you a snack. You didn’t eat much.

After you passed away, I remember going to your funeral, but I don’t remember how I felt. I don’t remember if I cried or missed you at that point. I know that sounds horrible, but that is where I was at in my life at the time.

Now, as a 36 year old mom, and having discovered myself more, I miss you. I wish we could sit down and have a cup of tea together and talk about God and church and family. I wish we could play some card games and laugh and listen to that music you like that I don’t really like. I would talk and get to know you more. I know you have a dry sense of humor, but I am best friends with my mom and I know you and I would be close….if you were here. You aren’t here…physically.

I know you are here in spirit. I know that by spending time with family, you are here. I just wish I could have gotten to know you better. I wish that we had more time and I knew what to do with it. Now all I have are my little memories, other people’s stories and some fading pictures. I am almost jealous of the people who got to spend more time with you and get really close to you and get to know you on a deeper level. I bet you had some amazing stories.

On the outside you were tiny and meek, but on the inside you were strong, brave and intense. I see you in a lot of my family and I want you to know we all love you and miss you grandma.

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