My dearest friend has a lump. It’s been confirmed by a sonogram and mammogram. She suspects it is an inflammed lymph node. Based on her medical history, she’s probably right. But tomorrow she has an appointment with a surgeon. The doctor who did mom’s mastectomy.
Today is my mom’s volunteer day. On the way home, she stops to visit my Godfather. He apparently repeats himself. A lot. He’s lonely, and rarely hears from his sons. It’s hard to feel sympathetic. “Well, he made his bed,” I said.
I haven’t seen him since my Godmother’s funeral. I don’t expect to see him until his own.
He wishes he could go fishing, so Mom told me a story about how he once wanted to buy a fishing camp. “You know who’d get stuck doing all the work,” Gina told my mom. We did/do.
I told her that I was thinking about Gina the other day. Remembering the road trip we took to Michigan one year. The three of us on the way out. She and I on the way back. We went to Graceland together.
I told mom that as I thought about it, I realized that she was already getting ill way back when. 15 years? She read everything out loud. Every road sign. Every billboard. To the point of being annoying. I remember mom and I talking about how this trait we’d never seen before was so surprising. It was a long drive.
I got really choked up as I talked about it. It surprises me sometimes when it wells up. Mom talked about how much she still misses her. I told her that I do too. I still catch myself thinking about doing something together. And then I remember.
What I don’t tell mom is how I really remember her. The hardest vision is in the hospital the day she fell. The true beginning of the end. She was hurting so badly and they couldn’t get a vein. They poked and poked and poked. She didn’t know me in that moment. She just saw me as one of them trying to hurt her.
She grabbed my arm, pulled me to her, wanting to bite me. I remember thinking that I couldn’t let her get me. That she if she got a hold, her bite would be too strong for me. That she would really hurt me. It took me and one of her sons to stop her.
We were both shook up and had to leave the room. He left immediately. I’m certain he was drunk or high within the hour. I guess that, because that’s how he was at her funeral.
Mom and I stayed another six hours till she got into her room. Because that’s what *we* do.
“Do You Have Happy Memories of a Place Associated with Your Grandparents?”
The only grandparent I remember is my mom’s mom. Grandma. She died when I was 12. I remember her funeral vividly.
I remember crying and crying. I remember my cousins looking at me with wondering faces, “What are you crying about?”
I don’t remember much about her. Grandma Diane. She lived in Michigan. We lived in Texas. A world away at the time.
I remember she had really long hair that she braided into a bun. And that she always had popsicles in the freezer.
And I remember thinking at her funeral, “You’re crying because you knew her. I’m crying because I didn’t.”