Three years ago my very strong, courageous, beautiful grandmother passed away. She has had such a significant impact on my life, even now that she’s gone. She was witty and independent and strong and she was all this in a time when women were only beginning to understand their own strength and the impact they could have. She met my first boyfriend when I was 15. She eyed up all six feet of him then and said, “Rhianna’s going to university you know,” as if to warn him off in case he thought to change my plans. She approached every single day with such a feisty sense of humour and spirit that it’s hard not to feel an empty space without her. She was larger than life and so how fitting that the morning she died she requested to be dressed early (something she never did) and went out to the dining room to socialize, where she passed away surrounded by people. How fitting that less than a week after she died I had a dream about her and 3 years later I still remember it in detail like a memory of her that never fades. I’ve wrestled with how to write about it for a while because it felt too big to capture. I’ve cried my way through the words and the pages to get the right stuff to describe the way she came to me and said goodbye…
I sit between the mantel’s warmth,
And my tearful last goodbye.
The cassettes spread,
In a listless promenade of dusty memories
Of a life in rearview.
Wandering cagey triumph,
Full of the possibility of tomorrow’s embrace.
Dipping low on the pink horizon.
Cotton candy and despair kissing the earth.
She knocks and I rise to understand.
She’s warm but she’s cold to the touch.
I am hushed but the realness of her movements burn the moment.
And I am crushed by the weight of the world,
In this last embrace.
She is everything I may never be,
And it catches in my throat and my eyes,
Until nothing is clear.
And I am alone here.
And she is okay but she is gone.
The old white house with the crooked barn
And the quilted roof remain.
Empty vessels brimming with the clutter of happiness.
Vacant rooms buzzing with thirsty excitement and quietude.
And all along there she was.
At the center of a distant vision.
Smiling in the peace of its glow.
Fat tears of longing wash through my heart.
Gentle waves on the ocean back home.