My maternal grandmother passed away just before Easter.
I’ve been struggling to find some way to organize into coherency my thoughts and feelings about it.
As an adult, we weren’t particularly close. She was a very strong and opiniated person and so am I, and the combination of our strengths and differing views of the world, along with my inherent and somewhat neurotic need to protect myself from rejection, kept me from cultivating a deeper relationship with her as an adult.
I went up to Fresno to attend her funeral and see the rest of the family, and do my best to support them, and in some small way, say goodbye to the last of my grandparents.
I wasn't quite prepared for the deluge of memories and varied emotions that awaited me.
After the funeral, my mother, step-father and I took a ride out to my grandmother's property in Clovis where I spent a lot of time as a kid with that side of my family: my grandmother, brother, mother, cousins, aunt and uncles. The small memories, things I hadn't thought of in years flooded back so much that I kinda felt I was living simultaneously in the present and the past.
Memories like watching my cousins Tanya, Corky and Dayne walking up high on one side of the land so they were silhouetted against the sky. Small little sense memories like all the frogs and toads that came out in such large numbers that it was impossible to not step on them, as much as I tried. The absence of the sound of traffic that always made me a little uneasy for the first day or so, and the crickets and bullfrogs singing at night. The life lessons my grandmother taught me, sometimes not particularly gently, but effectively. The times when we went with her and my mother on trips in a motor home to various parts of the state. Sundays at Carl's Jr. or Denny's after church. The two memories I have of my grandfather (he passed on when I was very young). When we all laughed. Sleeping on her screened porch always sort of seemed the very definition of summer to me. Of course, there many other memories that will keep me company through the years, like when she taught me how to hop over a fence.
Looking back, I'm not sure, given who the two of us are, we could have had a stronger relationship after I became an adult, but I certainly appreciate her place in my life as a child.
I miss her more than I expected.
Be blessed, Grandma. You'll always have a place in my heart.