Usually when people have bad dreams, they scare them. My bad dreams make me sad. I haven’t been able to shake how sad it made me.
On April 23, 1999, my grandmother died. It was a Friday and I was in my school’s Spelling Bee. I was in 6th grade, finally having the competition in the gymnasium in front of a large number of people. I do not remember acknowledging that my grandmother wasn’t there, or that my mom wasn’t there. It did not seem weird to me, which, in hindsight, should have been a red flag. My grandmother was retired, only worked in the morning part time cleaning houses and had no reason not to show up.
We lost the Spelling Bee on the word “orator” we spelled it with an E. I do not remember if the plan was for me to just go home, or go back to class. My teacher gave me a big hug and told me to, “be strong.” I shrugged it off thinking, I lost, no big deal. Of course I’m upset, but I’ll get over it and see you on Monday. My dad drove my sister and me home, telling us my mom was busy, and could not get off work. Once again, I accepted it, I was only 12, and didn’t think anything of it.
My dad asked my sister and me to sit on the couch, and he read the 23rd Psalm to us because he had to tell us something important. It was very strange, but we sat there and listened. Then he told us, “Grandma Pat died this morning.” I remember screaming in horror, asking him if he was lying, how could it be, no she didn’t, why are you making this up, etc. I know it seems like such a crazy thought that I really thought my dad had made this up. That would be an awful, cruel joke.
My mom was a mess, I was a mess. I had a bike-a-thon or some nonsense the next day. My mom couldn’t go, so my cousin went with me and my best friend. It was weird.
Anyway, to get to the point of bad dreams. I had a dream last night that I was in my grandmother’s house, but someone else lived there. Obviously someone else does now. It made me so sad because I could not remember what her house looked like, at least all of it. I know she had 3 recliners and a couch in her living room, but how were they arranged? What wall was her bed on? Was there more than a desk in the back room? How many chairs were in the kitchen? I know it is so trivial, but it made me so sad. I have had 4 other grandparents die since then (yes, my mom’s parents divorced and both remarried before I was born) but the pain felt with this death is deeper, and is a hole I always think is sewn back up, but sometimes it isn’t all the way.
I miss her, a lot. That dream made me sad. I’ll cherish what I remember of her for the rest of my life. Here’s a photo of me and her:
I’m really thankful for the 12 years I had with her, and I hope that I can hold onto as many memories of her as possible.