When my grandma passed away, I felt myself falling into a cool gray mist. The mist was not painful…I did not hit rocks or break tree branches as I fell. I could hear…and see a little. But I lost my power to feel. Suddenly all the things that would usually consume my thoughts and energies seemed a million miles away.
Usually I would be concerned about doing excellent work, about earning money, keeping track of my savings. I went to work as usual, but really I didn’t care. A paycheck or not, I’m not sure I even would have noticed. I didn’t care about putting on makeup in the mornings, I would just as soon put on a hat than spend time styling my hair. Whether or not I kept my diet, completed my exercise routine…really pretty meaningless.
My grandma was like the oracle to me…her wisdom and love surpassed everything I had known to the point that she seemed immortal. She was more than a close friend or a confidant, she was the first person I accepted as a source of unconditional love.
Others in my life had given me “love” of course, before this, but usually it had to do with my actions. If my life or choices did not follow the course desired, love became like a currency, given but just as easily not given.
Two weeks and two days after we put my grandma into the ground, I found myself racing up highway 280 with my oldest daughter in a state of acid ketosis in the front seat next to me. So many fears ran through my mind: what if the hospital did not take our insurance? What if her birth father was waiting for us at the entrance, insisting that everything was “fine” and demanding she not go in?
But even as part of me is still very much a little girl, wanting to be nurtured and protected, the mightier part of me is a mama tiger, forgetting everything in the quest to protect my children. I don’t think the mist is around me anymore. I think it is bundled now in a heavy sled that I drag behind me, but I can see again.
The last package my grandma ever sent me was full of buttons. She had accidentally left off part of my address so the package was returned to Oregon. I had to hunt down the postal center she had used and pay a good fee to have it resent. I dedicated my Ofrenda in her memory this year, and I was not emotional during my several days of building. But that very last step, when I sprinkled buttons across the ofrenda, that was when I started crying.