This is the blog post that I have been dreading.
I’ve put it off for a long time, afraid to transpose thoughts into words…afraid of the finality of the written word. But it’s time and past, and so I will think it, and say it and write it.
My grandmother died last month.
One would think that, as a CNA, I would have a great deal of experience in dealing with death. One would think correctly: if there’s one thing I’ve learned in five years as a CNA, it’s how to grieve.
But all that experience feels like practice somehow, and I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t love those people dearly, that their passing didn’t and doesn’t hurt. It does, very much so.
This one hurts worse. This one lingers.
There’s a plaque that hangs in my room, bought years ago at a local Dollar General. It was cheap (only $12) and it rather shows. That thing’s been through hell in the varied forms of my turbulent teenage years and an EF-4 tornado…I’m not sure which survival impresses me more. I’m not even sure why I bought it. I hardly ever think about it, or even look at it…that is, until Grandma passed away.
Like I said, it’s a simple, cheap affair–perhaps even a little tacky: a small, square slab of fake stone decorated only with a spray of painted flowers and a quote by John Keats. The quote reads: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
And that, folks, is my Grandma in a nutshell. I can think of no other, singular phrase that accurately sums up what she meant to me and all my best memories of her.
Grandma was a great lover of beauty, especially jewelry, home decor and food. She had the most exquisite taste and true talent when it came to combining shapes with colors. She had several pieces of what I call “iconic jewelry”, pieces she would always wear. One of these pieces, a gold ring set with two sapphires and a diamond, has had a profound influence on my taste: the first serious “for real” item of jewelry that I ever purchased was a gold ring with two sapphires and a diamond, set in the same order as Grandma’s ring, only with a more delicate band.
Apparently, the influence of that ring might not have been entirely accidental…as I found out on the day of the visitation. I noticed right off that something was missing: they had Grandma’s body decked with all her iconic pieces–except for the sapphire and diamond ring. I was quite distressed by this and even more distressed when I discovered the reason. Aunt Paula approached me and pulled it off her finger and gave it to me, along with a story. Apparently, Grandma had purchased that ring when I was born, telling Aunt Paula: “This is going to be Hannah’s one day.”
Well, that day turned out to be Friday, January 22, 2016…and Grandma, as much as I’ve always loved that ring, I do believe I would have preferred to wait several more years before claiming that inheritance.
Grandma, you will be sorely missed. Of all my family, you were one of the most accepting, both of Michael’s Aspergers and of my own prickly, contradictory nature. I knew how proud you were that I was going back to college, but I can’t thank you enough for never pushing me on the subject. Your grace with and fierce defense of Michael will alway be remembered with love and affection.
I love you and miss you so much.
Well, this wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. A bit more cleansing that plain painful. Oh, who am I kidding. I’m freaking, sobbing mess right now and I need to go blow my nose now.