Truth be told, her and I were not exceptionally close. I grew up in Arizona, she lived in New York her entire life. I saw her once when I was little, and then again when I was twenty-two, I think there was an instance in between there somewhere too. And a few times after. Admittedly, I did live there for five months and spent some time with her then.
But it never felt like enough.
When I first heard the news of her passing, I had just woken up from a nap. I was in shell-shock for a good eight hours. I wasn’t sure how to feel. A lady who I have very few memories with passed away. Then I called my mother, and when I finally her my mother’s voice, I lost it.
My mother had found her own mother, dead. That’s not something I can imagine ever experiencing, and I know that now both of my parents have.
My sister has not seen or spoken to our grandmother for quite some time. They have always lived some 3,000 miles apart. I am not sure she has any memory of the lady.
But I do. Certainly, these memories are few are far between, but there are still some memories.
The year I was twenty-two, I went back to New York for New Year’s. That was the first time I was seeing my mother since I came out to her via text message a few years before that. I had not seen my grandmother in at least a decade, actually significantly more than that.
When I arrived, my mother and I were discussing places to go for New Year’s eve. We did not want to go into the city. I asked my grandmother if there was a gay bar nearby we could go to. She told me about this placed called Blanches.
“It’s been there for twenty-five years,” she said. Then went on to tell me she had been once, in her very matter-of-fact tone, and aged face.
Sure enough, upon arriving to Blanches, they had a giant banner, celebrating their 25th anniversary. My mother and I had a very fun New Years. Special thanks to my grandmother.
Another memory I have of her, is making me scrambled eggs. They were delicious, and I was hungry, one time while visiting. They were incredibly fluffy, and I enjoyed every last bite of them. She told me that she added water to them to make them fluffy. I had heard of milk being added, and I had heard of pancake batter being added, but never water. But, I have since tried it — and it sure enough works.
Hanging in my closest is a belt that my grandmother gave me. It was my grandfather’s, a veteran, a man my grandmother loved dearly. I remember once she was talking to him, years after he passed away, telling my grandfather that he would have liked me.
I am blessed to have at least a few scattered memories of my grandmother. I cannot imagine the pain my poor mother is experiencing, but it certainly hurts me to know that no new memories will be made.
To know that there was a whole lifetime of memories I never got to learn about is heartbreaking.
I am disappointed, and sad. But at least I have those few scattered memories from my grandmother. May she rest in peace.