Friday, September 24, 2010


Dear Grandma,

I have been thinking about this letter for three days. Not so long ago, it would have been a whole different letter. It would have been more like this: since you are on The Other Side, how about you send me down some enlightenment about my life? Everything is sucking and I really need to change this mess. Well, I don't need to write that sort of letter anymore. I am happy to tell you that I figured that one out all by myself. Since you are on The Other Side I know that you are keeping tabs on me and are aware of what is going on here. You also know the direction my life is supposed to take, and are rooting for me to have my head in the right place, so that it goes as planned. I am focusing on that really hard. It feels good to direct my energy forward in a positive way.

I know that you know this, but on Wednesday, I went to court to file my bankruptcy. It went really well, if a person can consider filing bankruptcy to be doing well. Anywhoozle. It occurred to me before and after the event, this was just another stone in my road. In other words, this bankruptcy is likely going to make getting my non-profit off the ground a bit harder. I imagine it would be easier to launch if I didn't have a bankruptcy hanging over my head. On the other hand, that is sort of the point. People who fall through the floor usually end up filing bankruptcy. In order for me to be "right there" with the people I am helping, I have to have walked the same walk. A high percentage of them will have filed bankruptcy. It is all part of it. You lose your health, you lose your job, you lose your health insurance, you lose your house, you lose it all. You fall through the floor. Hello bankruptcy court.

Now that we are caught up on current events, let's talk about what I really wanted to talk to you about. Time. There are so many things that we get another shot at. Time is not one of them. It steadily marches on. I never got enough time with you when you were alive. Worse yet, I didn't fully appreciate the time that I got. When we moved back to Ohio, we saw you more often, because you were only a couple of hours away. That meant we saw you several times a year vs one week a year. You and mom would sit in the living room and talk and laugh. You had so many stories in you and you told them so well. No one crafted a story on the fly better than you. However, I would get tired of listening, because they were mostly about people I didn't know. You had six aunts that I rarely saw, but my mom knew them all very well, and their families, so she could really appreciate the significance of the punch lines. Then there were work stories. My mom had heard about these people for years, and met many of them, so they were also like old friends. They were just a bunch of names to me. After an hour or so, my brain got tired. Besides, I always brought four or five books with me, and one was usually calling my name. I never could resist that siren call.

As I got older, I started bringing homework with me on these trips. It was unbelievable but my teachers would assign homework over the Christmas break. Jerks. So, if it wasn't a book of one kind, it was a book of another taunting me, and taking me away from the laughter in the living room. The sad part was that I didn't really mind. I was on a mission at this point. I was determined to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA (and I did) because I was going to college as a rockstar. Missing out on some living room talk ~ no big deal.

Except it was. I just didn't know it then. In college, I was better about hanging out with the adults in the living room at Christmas. It was only then that I truly appreciated your ability to weave a story. I thought of all the times I could have been in here listening, but I had chosen to go upstairs and read a book instead. Those four years went so fast. And then my trips home got shorter and shorter. Well, until they got really long for that one year. And then mom and I moved south to Georgia, grandpa died, and you lost your grip on what was real. It didn't take long before you didn't recognize your family, and you created your own language. Amazingly, you were physically in great shape. Your mind was gone, but you lived a long time. How terrifying to wake up every day among people who spoke a language you didn't understand, and see no one you recognized. It was the saddest day when you passed, but it must have been a relief for you.

Back to what I was saying about time. I know that you know I loved you and vice versa. What I didn't get to fully appreciate was you. I am a person who loves stories. I love writing stories, reading stories, and telling stories. Why did it take me so long to appreciate what was right in front of me? You were a natural born storyteller. Not everyone has the gift of timing a funny story just right so that the punchline lands as it should. You did. I was this stupid tween turned teenage girl who would rather read a book upstairs, not understanding that the book would still be there next week or the week after. You would not. We would be at our home and you would be at your home. Soon a day would come when I wouldn't see you but occasionally, because of jobs and time. And then the day would come when you wouldn't know me, or remember your own stories. In fact, you wouldn't remember the language. Time. It isn't never-ending. It ends.

I know that you didn't set out to teach me that lesson, but I got it anyway. As much as I love to read, listen to music, and write, I won't let it take me away from the things that are more important, like spending time with the people that I love and care about while they are here. I have modeled after you in some very unhealthy ways. Grandpa was a verbally abusive man and I married someone just like him. I will never forget that day that I looked in the mirror and I saw you looking back at me. However, I want you to know that isn't the only thing I got from you. We both love to laugh, have big hearts, the same hands, care about other people (perhaps a bit too much), love dogs and kids, and know how to finish with a *bang.*

Your Lil Gee

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image captured from Miss Angie at My So-Called Chaos


  1. She know it do understand that, right?

  2. I wrote my Grandma (Memommie) a letter before she died. Actually it hit me one day that I wasn't going to have her much longer and I wanted to write all the things I could not say to her..because I would choke, cry and never be able to actually say them. When she did pass away years later we found the letter in a box with cards we had given to her over the years. I now have the letter back and it is in my top dresser drawer. :)

    Grandmothers are a gift from God. We were both blessed.

    Carol-the gardener

  3. awe....what a sweet, sweet letter! This one would be difficult for me to write because I would be writing it to my dad...sob...lovely letter my friend! ~Hugs

  4. i lost my granmar last wednsday i was sittin with her when her time came my heart is so raw at this mimite i know one day it will get easya but my nan was my best friend and she was also like a mum she was always there for me and if my friend donna needed her she would drop what she was doing and it may jus b for a quick chat but she was always there xx i jus wish i could see her for one more time jus to tel her how much she meant to me xxx
    love you always nanna
    love your grandaughter
    gemma x


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