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the last 24

April 24, 2007

Many thoughts have run through my head since yesterday. One being that I’m so absolutely relieved that my grandmother is finally out of her pain. Major back surgery, a triple by-pass, years of constant morphine and darvoset drunkenness. She lived almost six years in complete pain, eventually beginning to shut down. She’s had two concussions and she’s suffered a number of falls and the constant, perilous reduction in oxygen to her brain which made it harder and harder to watch her fade into nothing. But now, she is gone, and the pain is done.

There are a number of memories that I could share, and I intend to, as I work on the poem that I started a couple months ago that was about this whole struggle with her health. It’s been hard to edit it lately. You’ll get to see the work when its more complete.

One of the strangest things about this last 24 hours has been the conversation with my brother, to whom I’m mostly estranged. We have a distant relationship based in the trauma and mishaps of our family (more at 11), and so now, we rarely talk except on holidays, like good brothers should. Yesterday, I called him:

“I’m just thinking about how much she’s not in pain. She’s up in Heaven, Derek. Up there with the angels, and the pearly gates, where the streets are paved in gold!”

“Huh.”

“I just know she’s in a lot better place than this messed up world.”

“Yeah, she is.”

“Man, you’re gonna be there Friday, right?”

“I’m trying. School is sorta conflicting.”

“Well, you should be there, and if they tell you you can’t, you tell them to go f themselves.”

*laughter from me* “Well, I was just checking to see how you were.”

“I’m good.”

“Alright, love ya. Later.”

“Love you, later.”

The irony is that he was lecturing me on what I needed to do and about where she is. *sigh*

I sit on the boundary of tears and anticipation, not quite knowing what I should do. My family is not putting any pressure on me for what I should do, but my mother tells me if I don’t go to the funeral, there isn’t much point in me being there. I know she doesn’t mean that. And it hasn’t really affected what I want to do. Not that I know what that is yet.

I want to honor the traditions of the family and attend the funeral. There is not an open casket, and I am grateful. Every other relative I’ve seen post mortem has not been the relative I’d known in life, and it stirs me uncomfortably.

I will close today, with a poem from three years ago, and three weeks from now:

Have you ever spied the black bird on the wing?
He glides like a shadow,
on even the brightest day!
Make no sound, and neither will he.
But a truck starting, or a leaf rustling–
Caw-gorgle-pop! his throat calls.
It’s like drums leading to
gallows. Odd, empty, foreboding.
And that glassy yellow eye,
looks like rot looking for food.
I can imagine a fat worm,
dripping from its beak–
Almost hear it screaming, for with one gulp,
its gone.
and all I hear is his cackle.
Fwee-caw! Cree-pop!
Sounds like words of raillery, only I sense no light-heart.
No heart at all.
No, I don’t cring, but I’d rather spot that Robin.
Golden beak, prouding standing.
And that same fat worm would tempt no voice.
And its black peering is calm,
almost challenging. It’s breast–
That red mountain of spring!

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3 comments

  1. “On the boundary of tears and anticipation” – Love it. I know what you mean.


  2. *hugs* Hun, I almost cried reading all that. If you can make it, you can, if you can’t, you can’t. I almost didn’t go to Dad’s since it confliced with finals and I was short on funds, but I went. Professors tried to screw me over, but eventually it all worked out. *more hugs*


  3. One of my dearest friends was killed in a car crash in December. I went to her services – and was glad that I did – but I avoided looking at the body. I, too, feel that seeing someone’s body after they pass is almost always negative. Keep remembering your grandma the way you knew her; that’s what she wants, anyway.

    My love to you.



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