She's dancing with Elvis.

End of March will mark 8 years since the death of my grand-mother. Even after all this time, I miss her like crazy. She was a beautiful kind-hearted soul whose health had been failing for some time. And, although the pain of losing her is still very intense, I know she's happier now.

Christmas time had been her time of year, she was a family-oriented woman, and really, that's what Christmas is all about. As I stand in my kitchen, baking, cooking, my thoughts are with her, wishing I could hug her one last time.

I wanted to share something I wrote soon after her death. RIP, Mimi


She’s dancing with Elvis   
We called our grand-mother Mimi. She was a spectacular woman; emotionally strong, stubborn to a fault and she had thoughts and ideas that she loved to argue with conviction. She also had a heart as big as the vastest of oceans.
My Mimi faced many challenges throughout her life; her physical condition could certify it. In her youth, she had measured an imposing five feet eight inches but with age and worry, she had shrunk, stooped. In the end, she had been shorter than my own five feet six inches.
Her hair, once brown, had turned more salt than pepper. She didn’t bother to dye it; she said that if people judged her by her appearance, they weren’t worth getting to know.
When I was younger, I would often find my grand-mother seated in her big brown swivel chair in her kitchen, either rolling her cigarettes or working, and I would climb behind her and run a brush through her hair. She’d lean her head back and close her eyes; she loved that sensation and I loved pleasing her in such a simple way.Her beautiful green eyes, so like my own, would narrow when she searched her memory for a detail of her past or simply to tell of an event during the day. Her eyes would widen when she was surprised or when she laughed. Her nose was round and covered with tiny brown spots; a sure sign of her old age. There was a permanent bitter crease to her mouth, brought on by many hardships and challenges. It only took a good memory, an old song, a telephone call from a loved one or a surprise visit to wipe away that harsh line and bring back her smile.Her expressive face was wrinkled and lined from her sixty-five years on this Earth. Her every emotion was obvious on her features; from the simplest joy to the stormiest of angers. In fact, her entire body opened to her emotions; her whole face would light up when she saw a loved one, her green eyes would become bright and alive. A wide smile appeared and revealed yellowed teeth; her arms would open wide and embrace us tight.
When angry, Mimi became a formidable adversary. No matter how old we were, children and grand-children, in this state, she still managed to make us feel like five-year olds. If we had lied or cheated or disappointed her in any way, she would scream, gesticulate and brandish her cane. Worse than that, she would wrap herself up in her anger and stare at us icily, her hands fisted, her stance rigid. I remember clearly and I still have shivers running up and down my spine.Her wide shoulders were always there for a good cry and her soft hands were there for a gentle touch. But she was made of tough stuff and expected her loved ones to be also. She spoke honestly, with total frankness; she never hid herself or her intentions from anyone. She shared her life, her home, her arms and her heart with anyone who was lucky enough to be loved by such a beautiful woman.
She finally lost the battle against her body. It couldn’t follow her mind anymore; her heart, lungs and legs were failing, to say the least. She hadn’t been truly independent in years; she was a slave to her deteriorating body and she hated having to lean on others for help.
That last day at the hospital, she was barely conscious. She was doped on morphine to keep the pain at bay and she slept most of the time but there were times where she was briefly awake, and somewhat lucid. One of those last times, I told her that it was okay now, that she could let go and finally go dance with Elvis. The smile she gave me was the last one I saw from her. Her last breath was exhaled a few hours later.
I miss her terribly, even after all these years. The pain of her loss was hard at first but I soon came to realise that she wasn’t entirely gone. I found myself talking to her out loud and I could always imagine what answer she would give me; either gently pushing me in one direction or shoving me in another.
She is my guardian angel and I know that she is keeping a close eye on me, steering me through life. That is, when she isn’t dancing with the King.
I love you Mimi and I miss you so very much.


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