Last Thursday I went to my grandmother’s sister’s funeral. Not my great aunt’s, my grandmother’s sister’s funeral.
I went on her behalf, even though years of disagreements had left me unfamiliar with that side of the family. In fact, when my grandma still had lucid thoughts she got a phone call from her sister after which she refused to talk to her again. Maybe that’s my grandmother’s sister’s funeral playbill had no pictures of the two together.
So, naturally, I was a bit detached from the actual reason for the funeral. But I did cry.
I cried when my mom forced an introduction between me and one of my grandmother’s old friends. She just wanted to meet the girl Evelyn thought so highly of. “She was always talking about her Briana.” Yeah, I was over then. Couldn’t even politely thank the lady.
Before the dementia got so bad that she pleaded for death my grandma was my truest, best friend. I guess that doesn’t go away just because illness falls but my grandma was and wasn’t the same person I knew.
I don’t remember much about my childhood. But I remember the way my grandma clenched the door when she taught me to drive. I remember her picking me up from the high school principal’s office because I didn’t feel well. I remember laying in bed talking about God and why I shouldn’t fear death. I remember sleeping on the left twin cushion that formed half of her bed. I remember a lazy summer afternoon discovering the Golden Girls with her in the background.
I need a best friend like that back. Sometimes, Cleo will bark into the air, and there will be no shadows or flies in her line of sight, and I’ll pray that it’s my grandmother peeking in to make sure I’m ok.
This loss will be felt forever.