26 August, 2014


I knew all day that Gram's was going to leave us that night. I got the call from mom, "We're all here with her - she's struggling."

I held back tears in my classes as my new friends encouraged me to go home. It was well-intentioned but going home wouldn't help. The only place I wanted to be was in Gram's room, holding her hand. But I couldn't.

My mom held her phone up to Gram's ear as I told her how much I loved her. She had stopped speaking by that point but I was assured that she nodded her head in acknowledgment. She knew.

I didn't want to be home alone, so, while I waited for Dan to leave work, I went for a run at the gym. The new Civil Wars album had come out and Dust to Dust was on repeat while I tried to hide my tears on the treadmill.

We went home that night and I was mostly quiet over dinner. Dan poured glasses of wine and we sat in the living room. Stories of Grandma Nellie poured out of me. It was the only part I could play in her passing: I prayed for her and I remembered her.

For the first few months of her absence there were constant tears. Tears in the shower as I remembered beautician Gram's orders on how to wash my hair correctly. Tears when I stumbled on the text conversations where cheerleader Gram would tell me how proud of me she was. Tears were easy and forthcoming in those months.

Now, it's been a year and most the tears have dried up, at least they aren't as frequent, and it's just a sharp pain as life carries on and I realize that this is the new normal. That pain will likely dull over time but I don't want it to because my job is to remember her and, if nothing else, the pain won't let me forget. So tonight Dan and I will share a bottle of wine and I'll tell stories of Nellie.

I love you still, Grams, and I'll remember you always.

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