Three days ago it was my gramma’s birthday. She passed several years ago from stage four lung cancer, something I think about at least once a week. Lately I’ve been going through a lot of my boxes of “stuff.” Colored plastic bins chocked full of items I’ve hung onto (or that my mom hung onto for me) over the years. In those bins are a number of things my gramma gave me when she was alive: books she loved and thought I would to (I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith, for example, of which she said the main character, Cassandra, reminded her of me), boxes of jewelry, a pair of silver candelabras that sat on her coffee table ever since I can remember, an antique pie crust table, a seashell ashtray… and the sweater she wore every day from the day since she was diagnosed with cancer. Actually, that last one I might’ve kept on my own after she passed. I don’t sleep in it, but it it hangs on the old rocking chair she used to own and that I inherited.
I’m surrounded by her, so it’s no reason I don’t constantly come up with questions or topics wish I could discuss with her. It’s sad. We don’t think about these things until after a person has passed. The one thing I am immensely thankful for is the letter I wrote and sent her when she was still alive; a letter detailing all the was I was thankful for her being my gramma. Every time I read it I’m overcome with relief that she knew how I felt about her before she died.
Anyway, since last Friday, I’ve been thinking a lot about her and compiling a list of questions in my mind of what I wish I could’ve/could still asked her.
- What do you think of my life so far?
It seems like such a stupid question, because whose grandmother could not be proud of them? But I would love to know what she thinks of my life thus far and where she thinks I could improve. She always knew when I wasn’t living up to my potential and ever since she passed, no one has ever told me flat out whether they thought I could do better with whatever it is… I miss that bluntness. At times it hurt, but I really miss it sometimes.
- Family History
I don’t think this is too common with anyone nowadays, but I’m one of those people who is genuinely curious about family history. I remember one visit she remembered this interest of mine and brought out a big family tree poster for me to fill out. Sadly, I forgot it there and it wasn’t ever saved, but it was the thought that counted. We spent a lot of time talking about family history and, not to brag, admiring how amazing it was. I know there’s a lot of things my mom and aunt don’t know though and it would be nice to have access to my gramma’s knowledge again.
This is one topic we actually didn’t talk too much about and now I can’t think why?! To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think she would approve of Trump, but who knows. She was way more open-minded than me or any other person I knew for that matter, so it’s a total possibility she would have more faith than me in where our country is going.
When she was alive, I wasn’t dealing with this level of depression. I would love to pick her brain about what I should do re: medication/no medication. She was big into health stuff and had mixed feelings about doctors. The only thing I have to go on is the fact that she and I used to bag and capsule her own St.John’s Wort. I remember it being a total pain because the plants would burn my fingers from scraping the leaves off the stem.. and then of course it would end up all over her rug which didn’t take well to having a vacuum run over it. But now that I look back, she had the right idea and there was probably a really valid reason for her believing so deeply in it. I should’ve talked to her about it.
- Goat Yoga!
Just recently I signed up for a goat yoga class here in Corvallis. This is something that has recently become super popular and I know she would’ve loved to hear about my experience. Hell it would’ve been fun to even do the class with her. She would have a blast! I can just hear her laugh right now and picture her bombarding the instructor with questions. She’d probably even encourage me to write an article about it.
Over the past couple months I’ve really been considering getting a Masters in education to teach either preschool or kindergarten professionally. Problem? I can’t tell if I would actually be good at it. This depression takes a lot out of me energy-wise. I’d love to debate with her on whether or not it would be worth it – emotionally, monetarily, etc.
I’m in the first serious relationship of my life, as in one that’s lasted longer than a few months and with someone I can actually see a future with. I know she always hoped I’d find love. It’d be nice to share with her this part of my life and talk with her about what she learned from her years of romantic relationships.
The one place we often talked about was Egypt. There was one night where I was showing her Google Earth and we zoomed in to the pyramids in Egypt. I tried so hard not to cry when she said, “I wish I could go there.” I replied, “You still can!” I was optimistic that she could spontaneously be approved for a credit card and just charge two tickets for us to go next week. And when I said that, she just smiled softly. I think she knew I didn’t know what to really say.. because in both our hearts, we knew she wouldn’t ever get to go.
- The Bachelor
Getting her to watch this would be really entertaining! I’m not too sure how she felt about reality shows but this is one I’d love to watch with her. Would she think it’s possible to find love on a TV show? Would she think it was scripted, cheesy, or possible?
- Her overall “summary” of me
In more ways than one, she knew me better than I knew myself. It might not be exactly the case now that I’m older, but she just had such an insight into me. It was kind of her gift with people – guess that’s what you get when you’re an empath, right?
I remember when I was maybe 11, I was up there visiting during the summer and we were watching the news one night. There was a story about a little girl, Samantha Runnion, who had disappeared. The news channels were all over it. For some reason it really stuck with me and my eyes were glued to the screen during the days it was on TV. My gramma knew I was very concerned with what had happened to this little girl. So much so that she actually sent me to bed early one night. At the time I was a little annoyed because I wanted to stay up and keep updated with the coverage.. but over the years I realized she did it for a good reason. She was protecting me from being emotionally damaged from this little girl’s trauma. And obviously she was right to do that because 15 years later, I remember Samantha’s murder like yesterday.
- My Writing
What would she think of the articles I’ve published thus far? Any topics she’d recommend? Encouragement for when I’m really just judging my own writing too harshly? I remember when I would tell her about the essays I had to write in high school or college writing classes – she always had ideas for how to flesh things out and make it better. I can’t help but wonder how different my writing would be if she were here to give advice.