purplebunnie_ (purplebunnie_) wrote,

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July 10th, 2011, 9:15 PM, Mayers Memorial Hospital, McArthur, CA.

My Great-Grandmother Nettie Hendrix - Gramma - died Sunday night at 9:15. She was 98, seven months shy of her 99th birthday, give or take a day. She had slipped into a coma, her body shutting down. She literally died of old age, as had a long line of Gooch people.

My responses don't make sense to me, and underline (to me) that I don't deal well with grief. It's never something I've figured out. I've been one part dysphoric and one part dissociative, essentially either depressed and irritable, or feeling like a non-human. I have recently been feeling like a bowl of canned chicken noodle soup. Before that, I was feeling like a balloon.

Her house smelled like dirt, sunlight, fabric, and ash.

There were always growing things. I never knew anyone who could get anything to grow as well as she could.

She made the most incredible food. Everything in her house was always clean. She collected owls, and all the blankets and pillows were made by her. She tried to teach me to sew - pillows of all sorts. She had the small sets of Crayola markers for us to draw with. She grew sprouts and put them in her fridge.

We hold onto lessons. Gramma taught me leatherworking, paper crafts, dry flower arraignments, and what a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner should taste like. She was incredibly crafty. She held up under grief.

I keep doing what I'm supposed to. Fundraising for North Star Quest Camp, organizing the Social Work Library online... what I said I'd do. I think she would tell me that life keeps happening even if someone dies, and that you have to keep going.

Gramma once told me, "Diamond, I'm not going to tell you to stop smoking and drinking. My husband is dead, my kids are dead, and my friends are dead, and I'm getting very bored with living." She just kept living, but she had been ready to pass on for years.

I won't be able to go to her memorial. There are at least 37 young girls who don't know me, but are depending on me to follow through with my obligations. I think this is the best thing. I'm more emotional than I ever knew her to be, but I think she would like the idea that I'm doing what I said I would do. At least, this is what I will tell myself.

I don't know that she was ever proud of me. She didn't like that I was fat, or liberal, but she loved that I was her grand-daughter. This is a ... I forget the word. A moment by which we define our lives, the before and after. This is a marker. Until Sunday, there was a world with Gramma in it. Now I live in a world where she is not. This world is lonelier, a place that is more empty.

And comfort, what there is, comes from the strangest places. Someone who is still only an acquaintance, but who I would like to be a friend, gave me the first encompassing hug. And then didn't treat me like I can't talk anymore. Ryan, bless him, has no idea what to do, because I guess I don't react like other people he knows. I'm not lucid enough to be sure of what I need.

I don't have any more blood grandparents. If I ever have children, they will never have maternal great grandparents. I don't know where to put grief. There are so many facets to it, it just doesn't fit in me. It keeps bouncing around inside, poking different parts and making them hurt. I keep turning off, watching the tube and drinking, keeping busy, but it keeps bouncing back around.

Tags: dead, gramma, grandma, nettie

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