I've been saturated lately with Facebook
. Last night I got some advice from a friend, "write all this shit down." I haven't been. Right now, I'm taking a break from school and getting myself in a huge heap of trouble. A lot has happened and a lot more may happen.
On September 29, 2009, my grandmother passed away. She was old and sick and had been sick for a long time. She smoked at least a pack of filter-less cigarettes every day. When hitting about fifty years of doing this, it is bound to cause some problems. She died of complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She died at 5am, I arrived at JFK at 11pm the night before. My ex met me at JFK. I had problems with some flights and was supposed to get into JFK at 3pm. I had spent a good part of that day at San Francisco International Airport. I thought about how difficult it must be for people who move cross country and are actually close with their families, as I am not.
This may be difficult for some to understand, but before my grandmother died, I hadn't seen her in about five years. I had created a much needed distance from myself and the people I share DNA with. I was in therapy and trying very hard to live a life that is mine. It was hard having people in my life who constantly demanded things from me and wanted to criticize everything I did. I needed to find myself.
I don't really know why it was so important for me to get back to Brooklyn before my grandmother died. Maybe I needed closure or maybe I was looking for something I've never really had: a sense of family and support. After my mother's tearful apology a year earlier, I felt as though I should try too. Try to mend a relationship that never really existed in the first place or try to find out what it feels like to have a mother.
I had always felt bad for my grandmother. She was intelligent, but had an eighth grade education. She was angry and bitter and I wonder about the decisions she made, what she thought about them and how her life ended up the way it did. She wasn't the baking cookies and hugs kind of grandmother, while she did express her love through food. She was an amazing cook, and I was grateful that I could get many of her recipes before she died. The best memories I have of her was when I was a child, making cornbread or tomato sauce. I think she was impressed how quickly I picked up cooking and how talented I was at it. I get that from my grandmother: I like to feed people I care about because it is a way to take care of them.
From what I've heard, my grandmother was married twice. I don't know anything about her first husband. Her second husband was my grandfather, another person I know very little about. She left him and got pregnant but I don't know how that all happened either. Growing up, my grandmother always had men around. It seemed normal to me, but now looking back, I always wonder, what was it about my grandmother that she had so many men around. Was she a product of a strict role she was supposed to play yet didn't fit into that mold? Sound like anyone we know?
Later in life, especially after my uncle, her son, died from a drug overdose, she was never the same. It seemed like she was just waiting to die. I didn't feel sad for her passing, but sorry for her. Sorry that she wanted to die and sorry that she didn't feel as fulfilled with her life as she should have. I hope in some ways to be like her and other ways, not be like her. I hope not to die alone and unhappy. I hope to be surrounded by people who want to be there for me, not out of obligation.