08 March 2007

Contest - Childhood Memory

So I stumbled upon Michelle's contest.

About Childhood Memories

I was in 7th grade. It was right after Thanksgiving and my parents told me my half-sister, my half-brother, his wife and their son were coming to visit us from their respective states for Christmas. Well, actually 2 weeks before Christmas - but being around 12'ish, I just cared that Christmas was coming 2 weeks early!!

I don't remember anything about that early Christmas. I really don't.

I don't remember anything about December 25th when Santa came.

I do remember December 26th.

The phone rang, and as a typical pre-teen, I ran for the phone. When I said "hello", my Grammie (mom's mom - who lived a few miles away in an apartment - summers in New England, winters in Texas), said "Margaret, let me talk to your mother or father".

Mom took the phone. Talked for a few seconds and ran out the door with my father.

My neighbor came over a little bit later and said "Margaret, Jon, your grandmother was taken to the hospital and she is very sick".

I remember crying. My Grammie was my everything. She had stories. She had hugs. She lived 3 blocks away from my school and I visited her nearly every day.

She was transported to a much better hospital in the Houston Medical Center. I remember my parents coming home each night exhausted, mom obviously crying. But I remember praying that my Grammie got better. She had to.

On December 30th, I was outside playing. Mom and Dad came home in the afternoon. Mom was crying and said "Your grandmother is gone." Where did she go? Did she change hospitals again? I just didn't get it.

Finally it sunk in when i saw my dad helping my mom inside. I ran to my neighbor's and got her. She held me while I cried and took me back to my house.

The next day (New Year's Day) we flew to Massachusetts.

The funeral is a blur. Everything is a blur.

I went up there a few years ago. Dad took me to her grave. We cleaned it up and I talked to her for a few minutes. I told her I hoped she was proud of me. I told her I loved her.

I just remember my last conversation with her. "Hello". That's it. No "I love you". No "you mean the world to me". Just "hello".

I know now that my sister and brother and family had come down knowing that it was my grammie's last Christmas.

I just wish I had known. I just wish I could remember. I wish I had more than Hello.


scribbit said...

I'm so glad to be able to include this in the contest, it's touching. I'm sure your Grandmother must have known about your love for her--love is an accumulation and not just a one-time conversation. But I can see how much you needed that last conversation. Thanks for this sad and moving story.

Jenny said...

I'm sitting here crying because it reminds me so much of the last time I saw my grandmother. I was so upset at seeing her the way she was (in pain, incoherent, struggling to breathe) that I ran out of the hospital room without saying goodbye or I love you. She died and the last thing she saw of me was me being terrified of her.

I'm now learning to forgive myself for it...for her. Because I know it would kill her to know that any memory of her brought me pain. I bet your grandmother was the same way. She knew you loved her. You didn't have to say it for her to know.

soccer mom in denial said...

I'm horrified at the lengths adults go to "protect" children and not tell them the truth about people they love and care about. My kids know about a baby cousin with cancer. You were 12! You should've had the chance to understand you were saying goodbye.

But I agree with scribbit. Your grandmother knew you loved her. The old ones are wise.

Randa Clay said...

Very touching post- I was older when my grandparents died, so it's hard to imagine what that must have been like for a 12 year old girl so close to her Grannie. God bless-