Sunday, April 15, 2018


It starts with simple things. The brush of a breeze across the skin that reminds you of simpler times. The sound of a child's laugh when it sounds in a corridor. Even the smell of lipstick from an older company catching your notice.

All these are simple moments of unimportance. Each is contained in its own world of insignificance in our day. But for some of us, those of us in grief, they are like tinkling bells calling us to remember.

The strike of tonal memories and scent awareness. They resonate through us. The evocation of captured vignettes that are echoed in the current timeline of others.

I lost my grandmother on April 29, 2017. But in actuality, I lost her again that year. The second time was worse than the first.

The first time I lost her was when I was cut off as an unofficially adopted child. The cognitive dissonance, and continuous emotional damage of being caught between houses and factions in my younger years led to a custody struggle of three sides. My biological parent, my foster parents, and my grandmother.

In the war, my grandmother lost. She kept tabs on me, I believe. Communication between my foster mom and my grandmother was somewhat regular. I will never know.

Years passed and eventually through tragedy, displacement, and the total upheaval of my world, I found myself back in her presence again. I say with certainty of the soul, she was the only one in the entire world of heaven or earth that truly understood me, other than my foster father.

If I could have made a bridge between them both and sat upon it, I would have done so. A place to be seen, a place to be held, a place that we could have lived in a mutual set of worlds. But that was not to be.

She passed last year, exactly one week after my birthday at the age of 100 years. That is a lot those eyes have seen, yet the thing I remember most about them was their acceptance, kindness, and the understanding that I have never seen anywhere else in this life for me. She was my rock, my refuge, and my only advocate in life.

I have no true sense of belonging anywhere. I never have had one except in her presence. That is the only memory I have that means family to me. The moments like the ones where my foster father and grandmother were in the same room while I played with a toy house my biological mom bought me.

My foster mom was at home, or work, or somewhere else. I don't remember. But that memory is the most solid. My biological father was in jail, as always.

The second most real memory was when I was in her bed,  10 years ago. I was tired, broken, and sad. So, she let me sleep in her bed. I slept for the first time in a very long while without being sad. The room full of dolls who were like silent guardians.

Of course, she made sure to let me know I was fat. She was worried. But she also meant no harm by it, and never hurt me when she said it.

Her favorite phrase was, "I would rather make you mad than hurt your feelings".

She never made me mad. She was my grandmother. And from those days, til her last days, she always had my back.

Now, the first year since she has gone is almost done. The truth remains as full then as now. She was the only one who truly meant family to me, even more than my foster father.

So here I find myself alone. At least when she was here, I felt that there was a bit of grace and love that still tied me to something in this world that loved me wholly, not just for what I could do. Everyone needs a grandmother.

Everyone needs a grandmother.

I dedicate this to her, because though our faith was not the same, she would have liked this.

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