Monday, August 02, 2010

Clearly I'm Not Ready

Several weeks ago our Grandma Toni's younger sister Ann passed away. They were close and conversed daily. The morning I found out I visited grandma. She might be the toughest woman I know. Unflappable. Feircely independent by necessity. She migrated from post-war Holland in the late 40's with a three year old daughter following the accidental death of her husband. Never remarried. "I already have a husband" she said. She was the provider. Life was not convenient, but she found a way. She has always been governed by unconquerable faith which has, in its way, "brought forth unto it's own likeness".

I sat across the kitchen table from this remarkable woman. Her eyes well, but won't let fall the tears. "I can't quite believe she is gone," she says. "A thought comes to me, I go to pick up the phone, and then I remember." I don't want anything to go unsaid, yet don't know what to say. She has a deeply personal understanding of how to deal with death and loss. She says, in a moment of candor, something I will not forget. "Everyone comforts themselves by saying - 'She is in a better place. She is with her husband, and those who've gone before'. Well, I'm not ready to move on. I want to be with my grandchildren. I want to see everyone grow. Here is where I want to be."

What a beautiful sentiment. I'm not ready either. This world is both gorgeous and cruel, serene and relentless, generous beyond compare yet completely unfair. Death charms us all in different ways. And so here is a song, written by Vic Chesnutt (R.I.P.), performed by David Bazan.

David Bazan: Flirted With You All My Life(mp3)

I am a man. I am self-aware. And everywhere I go you're always right there with me. I flirted with you all my life. Even kissed you once or twice. And to this day I swear it was nice, but clearly, I was not ready. When you touched a friend of mine I thought I would lose my mind. But I found out with time that clearly, I was not ready. Oh, Death. Really, I'm not ready. Oh Death, you hector me, you decimate those dear to me. You tease me with your sweet releif you're cruel and you are constant. When my mom was cancer sick she fought, but then succumbed to it. But you made her beg for it Lord Jesus, please I'm ready. Oh Death. Really I'm not ready. Oh Death, clearly I'm not ready.


Dede said...

That Grandma Toni is a wise woman. I think Christy is a lot like her :)

JaeReg said...

I think it interesting that we so often anthropomorphize death - we make it one of us. To what end? So we can duck into the next isle at the grocery store without saying hello?
Your grandmother has kissed death once or twice in her life it seems, but such kisses don't often make death any prettier.

Clearly, I'm not ready yet.

May Grandma Toni find solace in her grandchildren.