The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Don't Forget To Call Your Granny, I Wish I Could Call Mine

Something gnawed at me most of last week, and I could never really figure out what it was. Sure there were stressful parts of my week dealing with every aspect of life. But really, when does one have a week that is stress free? This was something different though. Something that I couldn't put my finger on until this weekend when I realized what it was.

My grandmother died ten years ago this past weekend.

She was a very unique individual. She was robust and loud. She was very opinionated and would pretty much say whatever she thought. She told me stories when I was a little kid about frogs. She shared her middle name with me. She drank RC cola and ate Pringles while watching TV. She burped and farted louder than any person I knew. She used to jiggle when she laughed. She loved her grandkids a lot. She bought me a Wheel of Fortune watch when I was in elementary school that was the envy of all other fifth graders. She laughed a lot. She drove us right through the middle of New York City one time by accident. She was often tired. She wore white shoes and worked at a nursing home. She led a tough life. She taught me how to iron a shirt the day of my other grandmother's funeral.

She died on a Sunday morning before I could get to tell her good-bye one more time. I made my way up to the room through an obstacle course of loved ones weeping. Her body had been left in the room with the curtains drawn, waiting for me to show up. I remember the void in that room, like all the air had been sucked out. And all I could do was gasp for my breath.

I didn't catch my breath for weeks.

But now looking back at these past ten years, I can't believe how fast these years have past me by. And it occurred to me that the more these years pass on by, the more I will look back on loved ones and wonder where the time has went. I am a lucky man, I haven't been to many funerals in my life. But I know that these years won't always be that way.

I spent the first 17 years of my life craving the attention that she gave away. I was always trying to make sure that she didn't forget me. But for the past 10 years, I have spent my time trying not to forget her. And it's harder than I realize.

But I can still hear her voice if a room is too quiet. I can still picture her cooking in her kitchen. I can still remember the way she smelled. Sometimes I wonder how long these memories will last. I have already began to file away memories of her in the back of my brain. The only way I remember things is if something jogs my memory.

Like the time I was in a Rhode Island movie theater and tears just started flowing during the opening credits of O Brother Where Art Thou. I was amazed that I forgot the way Granny would sing Big Rock Candy Mountain to me whenever I would spend the night at her house, long before my sister was born.

Pretty soon my grandmother will have a fifth grandchild. A grandchild that she will never know. That is unfortunate. I am sure that at some point, my new little cousin will ask me about her grandmother and I hope I don't have to search through the back log of my brain for old memories and stories to share. I hope that I remember the great stories and that they will make her smile.

Time plays tricks on us all. The years go by pretty quick if your not paying attention.

The only hope we have is that time hands out a few treats as well. A few old photos here, a few tear drops there, and a memories floating around us everywhere.


Blogger shauna said...

i certainly relate to some of that. my grandfather passed away a couple months before my wedding. he died of cancer. in the hospital room, he kept calling for me, and i would sit on the bed and hold his hand with everyone else watching. he gasped out that he wanted to make my wedding dress (which meant, he wanted to buy it). i couldn't hold back tears. he told me he wished he could come to the wedding and that he wants me to be happy and have a good life. my last memory of him was as i was leaving the room for the night. i kissed him on the forehead and told him i loved him. the lights were dimmed. he lay completely still. everyone was waiting in the hall. i'm overwhelmed that i had that chance. he died early the next morning.
the funeral was hindu (he was hindu, but one never knows what happens in the last moments of life, i can only hope that he encountered God sometime that night), i was greatly saddened and disturbed.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Lynette said...

Lafe, This is great. Whenever I get those "Getting to know you" thingies; the question that asks if you could visit with anyone that has passed on, who would it be?. I always put my Gma (MaMaw Idie). I wish had listened more, asked more questions, cherished more, the times we had together. She died in 91. I can still hear her voice and her laugh so far. But my Dad died in 83. I can no longer recall his. Video's are great things. You get sight and sound. Wish I had more videos.
Thanks for the memories

12:59 PM  

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