I Was Here

I want to say I lived each day, until I die. And know that I meant something in, somebody’s life. The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave. That I made a difference and this world will see. I was here. I lived, I loved, I was here. I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted. And it was more than I thought it would be. I will leave my mark so everyone will know. I was here.- Beyonce

Their Death, Our Funeral

I said flippantly that I can’t mourn my grandmother’s death until I finish grieving my brothers’. Consequently my great aunt tied today (9/4). Unlike my grandmother, Aunt Verna was nothing but loving toward me. Still not a tear to shed or black gown to don until the shock of my brother’s passing makes sense.

My companion replied that I may never get a chance to mourn their passing if I can’t reconcile my brother’s—truer words were never spoken.

There’s a mix bag of emotions when it comes to my grandmother. I’m more remorseful than anything. Sad that she died alone and lonely, having pushed away everyone who ever loved her. She died in absolute solitude, not a caring soul for miles, alone in her bed knowing death was upon her. Her own children far removed, some not even bothering to say their farewells.

She was a woman who burned bridges. Blew them up, the TNT of her words exploding like anvils of hate and disappointment until you didn’t want to be bothered with the work needed to salvage the remains.

Know what happens to a burnt bridge? People remember the need for its destruction rather than the beauty of its existence.

Therein lays my regret. I have no knowledge of her outside of the scabs left in her wake, Even worse my family rarely speaks of the dead. We bottle the memory of their existence tampered in a shadowbox of hurt. We bury them without consequence or fanfare—cremate them I should say, then scatter their ashes in an unmarked territory never to be mentioned again.

I’m sure they will do the same with Aunt Verna—though I hope Nana balks at tradition and sends off her sister in style. I hope we get a chance to say goodbye more than 6 words in a newspaper, the world marking her passing in a brief sentence, Times Roman font.

The recent explosion of death has allowed me to appreciate the necessity of a funeral, a wake, a homecoming ceremony. One last look to know that they lived, that they touched lives, that they were here. I need the reminder that life is more than the mundane. Life, a fragile tethering of here and not here.

The lack of funeral denies you the right to say goodbye. It’s not final until the funeral, the final kiss to cold skin—until then you can imagine your loved one on a prolonged vacation in an isolated villages where phones don’t exist and people send smoke signals to communicate. Clearly that’s why I haven’t heard from them—I forgot how to decipher clouds.

Words said in anger, remarks in frustration as silence stretches on forever. That’s what I’m left with— not more opportunities to make it right.


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