February 20, 2006

Goodnight, Kitty

Dear Grandma,

You remembered the first generation of immigrants to America on your father's side, and how you got rickets when you visited them during the Depression because they were tight with the milk. You remembered your aunt who made gin in the bathtub during Prohibition. You remembered how many years it took you to pay off my grandfather's debts at the rate of $5 a week, after he left you with three children. Because he wasn't ready for a family when he came back after the war. You remembered good changes in the boys, who had always been very shy when they were young, when Joe came into your lives. And you remembered exactly why you didn't get along with my parents, but you know, relatives just kind of happen to you and nobody ever promised that shared genes make for fast friends.

I remember you telling me about these things, but there was just never really enough time to talk all the histories you remembered. You told me what you could, peppered with good advice and encouragment. Then you took it all with you last Friday when your third round with cancer finally beat you, wrapped around your lungs and stole your breath.

It would have made you mad for me to sit around on the couch curled up with a box of tissue for a week, and I'll try to cut it out. I'll try to remember how touched you were by the surprise 50th anniversary party your friends threw for you and Joe last year and your words to me this past Christmas. I'll carry you with me as I go out into the world and when I think of you now, it will be with the hope that you're getting ready for the sort of great adventures that your body just wasn't up to anymore.

Goodbye for now.

Posted by natasha at February 20, 2006 01:07 AM | Random Mumblings | Technorati links |
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