I just now got brave enough to post this. I've almost posted it three times before. Each time, I write a little intro for it. Then I read over it, delete everything, and save the file.
Reading over it, I don't understand why I always made it into such a big deal. I mean, I do...but I don't. Maybe that's all bravery is, is being confused about what you should be scared of (4th time).
Been trying to get this out there forever (wrote it over a year ago), but it always felt wrong. Or, as Iím fond of sayingóit pissed off my heart. Itís a downer, but you have the weekend to recover (3rd time).
Note from Ray: I wrote this something like a month ago. It seemed like something I should put on the site, but there was a part of me that held backóI donít know why.
Maybe because itís personal, maybe because I didnít want to offend anyone who thought it would be an insult to my grandmother to put something like this on a website like this. But Iíve decided it belongs here. The kind of people that would get offended, they arenít around here, anyways (2nd time).
I was very close to my grandmother when I was younger. In her final years, she had Alzheimerís disease, and there was no way for me to be very close to her because she didnít know who I was. Iím a scary-looking bastard, for the most part, and I generally kept my distance, so as to not terrify her. I think it was the best thing to do, but I always felt like a traitor. Anyways, this is for her, and for me. Itís not for anyone else, so if youíre put out by it, thatís your problem.
Tell me where it hurtsÖ
I just got back from a funeral, kind of. I got back late last night, after driving what felt like halfway across the planet. So, no, I didnít just get back, I suppose. Today passed in a flurry of whatever, the same boring shit thatís always going on, but I felt like I was just a step or two behind, all day.
The sun was down before I was ready, and I spent the night entertaining myself by trying to work out some sort of sound system for my apartment. What I ended up with was a strange mixture of components that sort of looks like a crippled robot with a growth problem. I spent some time drinking without reason, just doing it because there was some booze sitting there.
Tried to write, because thatís what I do, but it didnít work out so well. Watched various parts of several movies, in random order, just to see if it would form some sort of coherent plot-line. It didnít.
And then I somehow ended up sitting here in the dark; my princess has gone to bed for the night, and the house is quiet and lonely. I thought about waking her up, because Iím sad and dark-feeling, but I donít want to pull her into this kind of scene, if you can dig it. Nobody can make me feel better when Iím like thisóI just get aggravated with them for trying. So itís better to let her sleep, and hope that sheís having the sweetest dreams.
As for me, I watch the shadows with distrust, and a rotten grin. I hurt inside, and I canít tell the difference between sobs and laughter as I think about my grandmother. Iím listening to a depressing song over and over again, which Iíve always maintained was completely stupid. I canít help it, I guess. It reminds me of my Gramma. Gram, we always called her.
She had this smile. It was a wonderful grandmotherly smile. Thatís what it looked like to me, anyways. I donít know what it looked like to other people. Did it look motherly to my mother? Did it look lovely to my grandfather? She touched so many people. Not a grand impact, maybe, but so what? She was there, changing the world for us, changing our world.
Sheís gone now, in case you couldnít figure that out. It was her funeral I got back from. I spent most of my time there just hanging about, maybe in case someone needed a shoulder to cry on, I donít know. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I should feel.
I didnít feel like crying, if you want to know the truth. I felt a little out of place, but thatís nothing newóI always feel at least a little out of place. I felt sad, but it was a displaced kind of sadness. At the funeral, I ended up sitting right in front of a picture that they had of Gram, it was placed right above this big display of roses. I just stared at it, trying to connect the person in the photo to the person we were all there to mourn. I couldnít do it, which was why I wasnít so sad at the funeral.
Then we got into our cars and drove out to the cemetery. And my nephew, Ethan, heís sitting there in the back seat, asking me who my Gammy was. Gammy is what he calls his grandmother. My mother. What does her smile look like to him, I wonder? I try to tell him about my Gram, and I canít really do it, because my voice wonít let me, and what a way to traumatize a kid by bursting into tears when he asks about your grandmother.
I ask him, ďDid you see that picture of that woman? The one right above all those roses?Ē And when he nods his head that, yeah, he saw the picture, I tell him, ďThat was my Gammy.Ē And you know what? My stupid voice felt like cracking when I even tried to get out that little bit of conversation.
But now I have words, and they arenít all screwed up with my stupid voice, and they arenít all messed up because what will people think, or will this sound right, or how am I supposed feel, what am I supposed to feel.
Because me and words, we have an understanding. No fucking around, no trying to be cool. I let them out, and they let me out. Itís a deal, and nobody gets to slink away, nobody gets to watch out.
My Gammy wasnít even a Gammy, Ethan, believe it or not. She was a Gramma sometimes, but usually she was a Gram. She would let you drink coffee with your bacon and toast in the morning, but she always put so much milk and sugar in it that it could hardly be called coffee. If you couldnít sleep, she would scratch your back until you could, and if that didnít work, she would coerce you into talking until you wore yourself out. She was always proud of you, no matter how mundane of a feat it was that you had accomplished. She was always so happy to see you that if it had been anybody else, you would have thought they were faking it.
She would let you go upstairs and explore whatever you wanted, just be careful. She had some secret kind of recipe for meatloaf that made it better than getting a Happy Meal from McDonaldís. And she would buy your favorite kind of cereal right before you came to visit.
She used to put our ice cream into this big metal bowl, and blend it up until it was super-soft, and then she would just watch us eat it, and she would smile.
She was a lot of things. I canít spend all night trying to get my point across, I guess. She was amazing, she was wonderful, she was my Gram. I donít know who she was to the rest of the people at the funeral, but thatís who she was to me.
One thing I know for sure, though, is that she was not just that lady in the picture above the roses.
Maybe the best time to feel like crying is when thereís nobody around to know if you did it or not.
Tell me where it hurtsÖ