Sunday, June 08, 2008

You've Been A Friend To Me

When my friend Matthew heard about my Granny’s death and how I was there with her in the end, he wrote me a note that said,

“If, when I die, it is with my grandchild holding my hand, stroking my hair and singing to me, I think that I will have had the best death possible.”

Though I knew what he meant, I couldn’t see it that way at the time.

Nothing about it felt like a good death.


I wasn't at all prepared to stand by her side.

She was stolen from me, too soon.

Oh come ye back
My own true love
And stay a while with me
If I had a friend
All on this earth
You’ve been a friend to me

-- Mary Chapin Carpenter

Today, because he loves it, I cut cantaloupe for The Mayor’s lunch.

This one was ripe and sweet, just right.

Sneaking a piece from his lunch plate, I was immediately reminded of my grandparents.

Though tobacco is the primary crop in the area, cantaloupe also grows in abundance on the farms near my Granny and Ady’s house.

The taste of it reminds me of summers at their house.

I smiled thinking of them both and, in particular, of my Granny.

I still miss her.

Though lately I have come to understand that the act of standing beside her in death was a gift, both from me to her as well as from her to me.


and every day you gaze upon the sunset
with such love and intensity
it's almost...it's almost as if
if you could only crack the code
then you'd finally understand what this all means

but if you could...do you think you would
trade in all the pain and suffering?
ah, but then you'd miss
the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving

--Jane Siberry

30 comments:

Jen said...

Worded oh-so-beautifully. It's a strange thing to feel so sad for you and envious at the same time. Take care, OTJ.

--Jennifer

flutter said...

love,

your gift to her and hers to you creates that beyond this earth bond that cannot be broken. Through this life and the next and the next, she is yours and you are hers.

amy t sharp said...

beautiful. :)

Damselfly said...

You are right. A precious gift that will last.

Patience said...

I was with my mother during her final hours, just before she died. Her last words spoken to me were "I love you". What a gift that was.

Omaha Mama said...

Though mine was turnips, I've had the exact same experience this weekend and wrote about it just yesterday. Your words have touched me. So thanks.

Tonya said...

wow what a way to look at dying. I think your friend is right. I bet she was happy to have you there with her at the end. There are certain things that I will always link to my grandparents even though they have been gone for almost 4 years now.

HW said...

I have wished every day since my dad's death that I had been by his side when he passed. My husband keeps saying my dad wouldn't have wanted that, because he died in a horrible way. But I wanted it. It would have been a gift to me...

Another beautiful post.

foop said...

Maffy the Wise. Well done.

Not Hannah said...

Gorgeous.

"Calling All Angels"--wow. Isn't it awesome when your personal soundtrack comes through for you?

stepping over the junk said...

this is beautiful. you articulate it so wonderfully. Cherish your ability to express how you feel so clearly.

MamaGeek said...

Oh, this was heart achingly beautiful. BEAUTIFUL.

Cathy said...

Beautiful.

Michelle said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I held my Grandmother's hand as she died too. Beautiful post.

nonlineargirl said...

I am so sorry for your loss, which is clearly still close. My grandmother died several years ago and I still have those moments where something reminds me of her and I don't know whether to smile or cry.

Lotta said...

Ok, this is not the same I realize. But when we put our Golden down I remember that moment when he took his last breath. It just wrenched my heart.

Even though you gave your granny a wonderful gift, it was one that will take you awhile to recover from. Don't hurry yourself.

JCK said...

Love that last poem.

That you hold her so close and will always is a testament to your relationship and what you will give to your own children.

WILLIAM said...

Sometimes gifts are what we need and not what we want.

QT said...

Jane Siberry is wonderful. You know I share many of your feelings on this. Death brings the living so many complicated emotions.

Footsteps said...

My grandma Mary will be 93 at the end of the month. She has been on "fade" ever since my parents and grandpa (her husband) died. She's told me that she wants me with her when she leaves this place, and I very much want to be. Feel like I need it as much as she does...

Catizhere said...

I don't know what made me more weepy....your post or Flutter's comment.

JoeinVegas said...

You can tell the Mayor there are no bones in cantalope either.
Sorry he didn't get any from her garden.

Aliki2006 said...

Beautifully expressed.

It was a gift, for both of you. I've been thinking of my own grandmother so much this week. It's been a whole year.

Sigh.

we_be_toys said...

I'm glad to hear you're not mad at her anymore, Maybe that cantaloupe was a little gift from her as well?
Memories can be wonderful tactile things.

Maureen said...

Of course you still miss her. You always will. But as time goes on, it won't HURT so much to miss her.

Beautiful post.

Bobita~ said...

Your stories of her, they honor her memory in such a tremendously loving way.

So beautifully written.

Redneck Mommy said...

My Grams died alone. It breaks my heart for she was so well loved. She deserved to have someone with her, holding her hand and whispering promises of love for her soul to hear.

I'm glad you gave that to your Grandmother.

And I'm even more glad that your memory of that is bringing you peace.

love ya.

kittenpie said...

This resonates with me so much - every time I see apricots, I think of my granny, who loved them best of all. I eat them as often as I can when they are in season.

And for me, I wasn't able to get myself to her side on time, but I flew my mother there in time to spend a day or two with her before she went, and I am told she was so happy to have all four of her children around her one more time at the end.

It really was a great gift you gave her that day, whether she was able to tell you that or not.

The Joys of My Boys said...

I was with my grandmother when she died as well. It was the middle of the night when I woke up and thought to check on her. At her bedside, I realized she was taking her last breaths. I believe that she called me to her side. I try to think of it as her last gift to me--a reminder that all life ends with death and to be present in every moment, whether joyful or painful.

Deb said...

Stunningly beautiful post.