Thursday, June 02, 2005

I suspect

I suspect somewhere up above, my cousin John Michael has been appropriately smacked upside the head by Aunt Eleanor. When mom was making her goodbyes at the funeral home, she told Aunt Eleanor to smack John Michael on the other side for us.

I suppose someone should have told my grandmother the same, but we didn't feel compelled to. I guess he's already gotten his "what the hell did you think you were doing?" smack upside the head.

When I was in the doctor's office today, I had a long time to look at my fingers that're starting to get bent out of shape with the arthritis. I remembered looking at my grandmother's fingers in the coffin. Her fingertips were so bent and stiff. And thin and pointy. I hadn't remembered her fingers being bent up until then. Then I remembered back when she used to be sociable and good for a conversation, and her bent fingers moving as she made conversation, talking about stuff.

She'd drink coffee and talk to my mom. My mom'd sit sideways in a kitchen chair, one elbow on the back of the chair, the other on the table as she nursed the coffee. I used to wait until they were invested in coffee cake or Mrs. Dash or something, and get hold of her sugar bowl. I wonder whatever happened to it. I'd take the little spoon and eat the Sweet N Low out of it. There was something about the funny after taste that I kind of liked. She'd get so pissed and ask what the hell I was doing.

I never quite got the hang of it, but she taught me how to knit, and let me use her stuff to knit. All of my stitches were too tight. Maybe I should give it another shot.

I'm sorry I didn't get to say goodbye. And I'm sorry I didn't forgive her for being how she became. I forgot about all the good times we'd had when I was growing up.

The day of the viewing I was a little sleep deprived. I'd gotten to bed late, then got up earlier than my normal time to be at the funeral home bright and early. I saw my cousin Amy. God she looks like our grandmother. And her brother for that matter. I'm sorry I wasn't attentive to John Michael the last time I saw him. I thought I was sooo damned smart and special because I was going to college and he hadn't, and that I didn't talk with that slow southern drawl like him. Amy's turned into sucha neat kid. I wish I'd have gotten to know her brother better.

You're supposed to live your life so as to avoid regrets. I'm only 25 and I seem to have racked up quite a few.

I didn't even know who some of grandma's relatives were. I think I've met her brother before, but aparently they wern't talking for like 40 years, so I didn't know he was her brother. I was talking to him and his wife, who was aparently a friend of grandma's when Suzie came in. I remembered they were friends, and they hung out even when grandma started getting crochety. I said hello to her, and I turned around and almost said "look, grandma, Suzie's here." I looked at my grandmother in the coffin, realized what was about to come out of my mouth, and retreated to another room. She. Was. Really. Dead. I don't think I've quite felt it as deeply before or since that moment. I so wish I'd have done things differently.

Is it possible to live life without regrets? Really and truely? We always wish we'd have been nicer, or spent more time, or done whatever... is any amount of time enough? Is it possible to do everything we intend to, in a timely manner?

I suspect that people who claim they've lived life without regrets are lying.

1 Comments:

Blogger Eamonn said...

I'd have to ask why didn't you talk to her? After my dad died - and I mean just 20 minutes after he died - we sat there and re-told all his favourite (and really corny) jokes. We told each other stories about him (some of the stuff I had never heard) and generally refused to treat him as if he wasn't part of the family any more. It takes more than death to do that surely?

11:36 AM  

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