Tribute

Elisabeth Hirsch is a once in a lifetime person.

She’s one of the funniest writers I have known, and her blog has given me light on many a gloomy day.

But what makes Elisa so absolutely amazing is the light that she shares in through her utter honesty of her life.  She has suffered greatly, but has found hope in her life and is brave enough to share her journey with us.

Tomorrow, her memoir “The Golden Sky” is being released and I am HONORED to be a part of her blogfest.

Let me tell you, I’ve been looking forward to the release of this memoir ever since I heard about it, back in August.  I have been waiting semi-patiently and will be snatching up my own copy as soon as I can.  And I think you should, too.

So as a part of the Blogfest, Elisa has asked us to write a tribute to someone we have lost.

This is a Eulogy I wrote for my grandmother when she passed away but was too chicken to share with anybody.

Well, here it is.  I know my grandma is watching me, always smiling.  She’s my guardian angel.  So, grandma, this one’s for you.

————–

I walk into the house and my nose is immediately filled with the scent of grandma and I want to walk back out.

Nothing and everything has changed in the museum of my childhood. There’s less furniture and more dust and my memory fills in the blanks with the phantoms of what used to be, of what is no longer there
(sitting over there in my Easter clothes, fed up with dull and useless conversation, flinging my body across the shoddy couch they always talked about replacing with a new one and never did because it’s sitting there right now, shoddier but without my little body wrinkling itself in its Sunday best)
.

There’s a wall of mirrors and I can see the ghost of myself in them if I look too long, so I don’t. I don’t want to see the smiley seven year old, the twitchy fourteen year old, the twirling five year old oblivious to all that, the ten year old trying not to cry after grandma got gum out of my hair with peanut butter (finally peanut butter after mayonnaise and ice didn’t work, but lord help us I didn’t have to shave my head).

They’re all there, but I don’t want to see them.

The area under the stairs is dusty and empty. It used to be filled with plants, potted plants, green plants that didn’t make me sneeze with pollen, that used to make the room seem brighter. There is only one left, wrinkled and leaning to the side, crippled with age and trying to stay alive.

I hadn’t realized….

My mother has already barreled her way in to the back room, where my grandfather is sitting on the couch staring at the TV, but I linger in her footsteps because I’m not my mother. I have about one minute and thirteen seconds before they’ll miss my presence and call my name (but I don’t want to hear my name today) and my mother will talk about the preparations in the same strong way she talks about everything (Do you need eggs, we can go get eggs) like a shopping list that can be erased and re-written.

She’s braver than me.

So I smile [and for once it doesn’t fill my eyes] and walk back.

(Why would anyone smile at a time like this?)

My grandfather is sitting on the couch and he’s the same but different, his stained shirt open and his hair uncombed, his chiseled face soft and bewildered. I give him a hug and we both try not to cry and don’t state the obvious, but the electricity of not crying passes through us and shocks the part of the heart that pumps out tears

(I didn’t realize at the time that I would be this sad but I am this sad and now people are admitting that I’ll be this sad forever [which is a longass time if you think about it] so I’ll have to find a way to live with the sadness [even though we shouldn’t be sad, we should be happy she’s in Heaven{then why am I so sad?}])

and they glisten in our eyeballs and coat our throat with mucus, but the hellos still come out and the tears retreat for a moment, until the next moment which could be at any time.

My mother bustles around, getting this, looking for that, and I am terrified of being left alone with my grandfather because I don’t know what to say (I WISH MY SISTER WERE HERE), but my mother is trying to find a photo album and goes upstairs to look for it while I sit at the edge of the corner of the couch, looking at my grandfather who looks at the television.

This room is even worse.

(I bet she was really happy the day I was born.)
[I wish I could have been there]

“I miss her,” his hand on the couch, palm down on the couch and he says “I miss her”. I wish he hadn’t and am excited that he did, but I have nothing to say that won’t make me burst into tears, so I just nod that I’m listening but don’t think he knows I’m there because he’s still watching the TV.

And his hand is on the couch and he says “I miss her” in a way that sounds like my grandfather but isn’t my grandfather and of all the words in all the worlds, I cannot think of a single one to fill this moment.
So I put my hand on his
He looks at me
Like he’s seen a
Ghost
And says “She would do that every night.”

What?

“Every night she would put her hand on mine and we would sit side by side, with her head on my shoulder and her hand on mine, we would watch TV until we fell asleep. Every night, she would put her hand on mine and we weren’t alone.
Who’s going to hold my hand now?”

And he’s just written the poem I couldn’t.

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30 comments on “Tribute

  1. Joshua says:

    That was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this with us for this wonderful blogfest. I think I need to go get some tissues if I’m going to read any more tributes today.

  2. melynda says:

    This is beautiful. Probably the most beautiful piece I have ever read from you. I’m sorry for your loss, my friend and am sending a giant hug your way.

  3. Jenn p says:

    Wow, that is quite possibly the best I have read today. You have a beautiful way with words, painting a picture no matter how sad and conveying emotion.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    On another note, how have I not found you either!
    I see you share the love of the word awesome!
    So great to meet you and I am now your newest lemming!

  4. Alicia Marie says:

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for the wonderful comment you left me. 🙂 I’m sure your grandmother knows how much you love(d) her! I remember after my grandfather passed away, I sat in a chair at my grandparents house and stared at the tv, too. I thought of all the christmas’ of the past where I would sit on my grandfathers lap as he had that one special gift for me that was just from him! No Christmas would ever be the same.

    I am now your newest follower! 🙂 I look forward to going back and reading some of your posts, and I also look forward to your future posts! 🙂

  5. staceyfonas says:

    Crap. Now I have to go reapply my eyeliner and try to look like I’m not sitting here crying at my desk.

  6. RR, I don’t know what to say other than, I wept…
    With Affection,
    ymscwartz

    Thank you for sharing your heart…

  7. fishducky says:

    I cried, too–how could I not?

  8. zencherry says:

    (Puts hand on top of yours and sits quietly absorbing that wonderful memorial and secretly hopes to see your little selves in the mirror) (Then waters the plant)

  9. RachelJoy says:

    I love your complex and very technical style of writing. You must’ve really paid attention in grammar 😉 In addition, this was such a beautiful and poetic piece. I felt like I was right there going through the actions, thinking every thought, and saying every word as you did. Great job. Granny would be so proud. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t realize how awesome grandparents are until they’ve passed…

    Thanks again for visiting Cool Bean Mommas!

  10. Adeel Salman says:

    Awwww this is such a beautiful post…. left me with such a warm feeling… loved it

  11. susan kane says:

    So beautifully written. I could see every corner of the house, and feel your mind as it flashed through the years. What a heart-wrenching tribute. Thank you.

  12. I tried so hard not to cry but then I read to my husband the words your grandfather said and I just lost it. It makes me thing of my grandpa and how lost he would be without my grandma. This is a beautiful Eulogy.

  13. Baiba1205 says:

    aww. such a beautiful post 🙂 and sad at the same time. The ending made me cry, thanks so much for sharing your story 🙂

  14. Debra Kristi says:

    AG – that was so moving. Pulled straight from your soul. You made me remember the smell of my own grandmother’s house. Something I had forgotten. Bless you. So sorry for your grandmother. She is smiling down upon you from above.

  15. Stephanie D says:

    What a beautiful post! When my grandmother passed away I worried that nobody would be there to light the shabbos candles and say the prayer with Papa on Friday nights…so I started calling him every Friday. 11 years later and I’m still calling (we’ve only missed a handful of Fridays). The day when I won’t have my Friday night call with Papa is unthinkable!
    I’m glad you had that moment with your grandfather. I’m sure it brought him some comfort….and I loved your line “nothing and everything changed in the museum of my childhood” Very nice way with words!

  16. Elisa says:

    This is amazing–so touching. You’ve described perfectly, the full impact of loss.

    Thank you for all of your kind words. You are such a special person!

  17. This is unbearably wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing it. I came away loving your grandmother and feeling so terribly for both you and your grandfather. I have similar mother and knew exactly what you meant about the efficiency at a time like that.

    Please, please keep writing – you are terrific.

  18. This was an amazing and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. I can’t tell you how many chords it struck with me. My grandmother was vital till the end. My grandfather was long gone but my son and I were living with my grandmother. I am the one who sat and watched television with Meema. We didn’t hold hands as we watched but the dynamics were the same. I wondered who would sit in her chair and watch with me so I wouldn’t have to be the only grown up present and be alone in oh so many ways. It has been over 30 years. I still miss her. Forever is indeed a long ass time.

    Deep Peace,

    Ardee-ann

  19. Evocative.

    My dad is 92 and I cannot forgive my mom for leaving him.

    Lovely writing.

  20. I loved this eulogy for your Grandmother. I teared up instantly at what your Grandfather said, and that you intuitively put your hand over his and that your intuition sparked that memory about his wife. Very moving and very sad. But we do need to shed tears about sad stuff and feel our feelings, which is what a well-written post like yours helps us to do.

  21. I have tears, you’re writing is poignant. I’ve lost all my grandparents and an auntie (too young) and you never stop missing them and hoping that you’ll see them again one day. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Thanks for stopping by my place today kiddo. And BTW- you just made me cry.

  23. I have a piece on my blog; marysfarmreport.com titled; Grandmas’ Apron. I loved my Grandmas so much. They were very different women in many ways. Both share a very big space in my heart and memories.

    I like your writing style. I am writing a book and my blog is my beginning on this long venture. I do hope you will visit my blog and leave me some feed back. I would value your comments.

    I feel there is no death as long as that person is in our heart and memory. That is how they remain eternal.

    Love,
    Mary.

  24. haritha says:

    what a tribute for a grandmother:) i love this so much.every word of this post is etched in my heart now…..
    i so love your grandma….:)

  25. This is lovely, just lovely, not only a tribute to your grandmom but, to all the people who loved her and miss her.

    Brought back so many memories of when my mom passed away and, how my dad sat in front of the TV so sad and lonely!

  26. That was beautiful, AG. Thank you.

  27. Monica says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. And a great reminder to never take the little things for granted.

  28. Elise Andrews says:

    For you: {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{H.U.G.}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

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