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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