I was supposed to be working, and I took a break to pop onto Facebook, only to see that a friend had posted for the first time since her grandmother passed away last week. I had been thinking of her so much, I put aside my work and read the blog post she posted over to her Facebook page to share.
And was rocked out of this chair, out of this day, out of this year, and back, back to 1998 and the hospital room where my grandmother died. You see, she died in the same way. My father and his brothers and sister made the call to take her off life support knowing that she was not coming back. We gathered around her in the private room the hospital gave us for the purpose after removing her from the ICU. We waited.
When it ended, it was not the quiet slipping into oblivion I had thought it would be. She sat up. She opened her eyes. Those blue eyes that could bore a hole straight through you and make you tell her all of your secrets. Those blue eyes that are mine in the mirror.
What she saw, I don't know. She didn't see us. And then she fell back and was gone. I slipped from the room to tell the nurse it was over. I didn't go back in.
She didn't see us at that moment, but I believe she knew we were there. My grandmother who would do anything for her family, who was known for the fierceness of her Scottish (by God don't call her Scotch, that's whiskey you idiot) temper and also of her love, devotion and loyalty. Who raised her four children with the determination that she gave to everything, in spite of the end of her marriage.
I was rocked tonight. Rocked by that memory, rocked by the love and the grief that never ever goes away, the loss of someone you love with every ounce of your being, who is a part of everything you are and will ever be. But also rocked by the realization again of what everything is about.
My family, at the end of my days, will stand around me like that, I can only hope. That my sons, their sons and daughters - maybe even if I am lucky, their grandchildren, will be there too. That I will leave behind a legacy in the only way that really matters. In people. In love. In hearts.
My dear friend, my heart breaks for you, and it breaks again for that day long ago when I lived the same moment. You are your grandmother's legacy. And I don't know her, but I think it's safe to say she would be damn proud of you. I hope that my grandmother is proud of me.
PS. I love ee cummings.