This past week I went to a memorial service for one of my mother’s best friends who passed away. She was one of the nicest people I know, always had an infectious giggle and would get everyone in the room laughing until they were almost peeing their pants. She used to take my sister and I to the pool at URI on Friday nights with her daughter to swim and one time nearly killed us deciding we needed to see a popular road in one town in RI that was referred to as “Christmas Tree Lane” because the residents tried to outdo each other with their light displays and this last minute decision resulted in a brief off-road experience that was a little scary but worth it regardless!
The service wrapped up at the Veteran’s Cemetery. The one all my grandparents are buried in. My grandpa passed away at the age of 52 from cirrhosis of the liver and I never got to meet him but from what I’ve heard he was a wonderful person. My Memere and Pepere were not close to us but I still miss them. I wish things had been different. Ma wouldn’t allow much of a relationship with them, I’m not sure if it was because it was outside of her family and therefore her circle.
After the service we went back and went to both sets of grandparents graves. Ma stayed in the car (her COPD limits her) and my Dad and I went to see my Memere and Pepere first, his parents. He had a rough upbringing, not something he is willing to discuss even this day, especially with my Pepere (he was an alcoholic) but I could still see the pain in his eyes as we went to their graves. I know he misses my Memere at least. It was nice having a moment alone to collect our thoughts if anything.
Saying our goodbyes to Memere and Pepere we then went over to where my Grandpa and Gram are buried. Gram has been gone since January 1989 but I remember our last Christmas together like it was yesterday. I was 8 years old and Gram had been in the hospital. She was coming to our home that day because she was being released. I don’t know why she was even in there but she was sick a lot. My Dad asked me to go out to the garage to get a few chairs since our home was always the central hub for Christmas. When I walked out there, I saw a long piece of red fabric over by the chimney! I ran in excited and showed my parents. I’m so grateful they took the time to bring some magic into my life that Christmas (instead of the usual stuff that has put me now in therapy at the age of 35). So Gram came over for Christmas dinner and I remember her telling me Santa had brought her a mug from the hospital while she was in there and that he was missing a piece of fabric from the back of his pants! She passed away a little over a month after that.
Its obviously been quite a few Christmases since then but that one will always be the one that sticks out in my mind. What I wouldn’t do to go back and live that experience with my Gram again. While I stood at her grave I thought about that moment and in my mind I told her how much I love her still and miss her every day of my life. I know even know she is smiling down on me, from the scent of her perfume that will linger around me at the strangest times especially when I feel most alone.