Wednesday, February 4, 2009

happy birthday, roey

today would've been my grandmother's 96th birthday. she died last august, a few days past her half-year mark. she was the bane of my existence, the albatross around my neck. i bore her with all the grace i could muster, and let me assure you, gentle readers - some days, it wasn't much.

anyone who imagines Death to be The Enemy never spent an hour in my grandmother's company.

she was always a difficult person, for reasons the adult i've become understands and the child i will always be resents. towards the end of her life, she grew almost unbearable. for her 95th birthday, we had to beg her to get out of bed. she made my holidays exercises not only in forebearance and fortitude, but also in strategy and logistics akin to those employed by macarthur in the pacific.

my mother found her impossible to deal with and did her best to shift the burden of my grandmother on to me. "you're the one she loves" was the constant refrain i heard through my life - though as i said once to my sister, "this wasn't a lottery i wanted to win."

my grandmother rests as much in peace as is possible while there're still a few loose ends of her estate to tie up. she's nicer now than she ever was in life, and sorry, too, for all she did. i understand now why i was her "favorite" - she saw a lot of herself in me, and she was right. there's a lot of my grandmother in me, and it's not just my big brown eyes and my silver-white hair.

this morning, Beloved sang happy birthday. i lit a candle and i wept, not for my grandmother's passing, but in the way i imagine a soldier weeps, when the war is finally done.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

12 comments:

Lynette said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate someone who makes us grow-kicking and screaming the whole way. It is hard sometime with the "onary" ones. (my mom is one and so am I) Happy Birthday to a good ol' bird even when everyone did not see it.

Dina said...

you are very lucky to be able to communicate with her and know the person she is in the afterlife. that brings some closure.

April said...

I really enjoyed this post! I've had people in my life pass away who were much like your grandmother. Though you don't realize it at the time, they end up teaching you a lot about life, in general, and how to live it with tenacity.

jjk said...

uh, excuse me, I don't think she loved you best.

I think she (1) had it in her mind that it was a daughter's job to take care of her in her old age; (2) I was geographically removed, and (3) I perhaps frightened her by trying to help her with things that she never understood. But hey, if it helps you sleep better . . . .

Anyway, despite that error, thanks for writing this post. I was thinking about her today too of course and I am glad you wrote something.

Love - John

annie kelleher said...

LOLOL ... dear brother john weighs in. i think we can all safely agree that our grandmother loved herself best. and as i said, it was hardly a lottery anyone would WANT to win.

Walk in the Woods said...

... birthday blessings roey ... the war is over ... may rest in the blessings of renewal ...

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Awww, what a nice post! I laughed at your brother's comment... Gotta love 'em! ;)

Mindy said...

I have a grandma like that. It was my wonderful, sweet and caring grandma that passed away last month. I'm still left with the "wicked" one =) She has even told both me and one of my other cousins that she doesn't like us... at all. Now she lives across the road from my family and I do my best to shield my two boys from her tongue. Her tongue can feel as sharp as a knife at times.

I hope when she passes I can sing her happy birthday...

Divaeva said...

*giggle* your brother is as amusing as my siblings! Happy birthday Roey!

Judy Vars said...

My Mom was an onery one and has passed on. I still hear her voice and remember her acid toungue but she always spoke the truth.

Martha said...

Big ((Hugs)), I hope your Grandmother is finally at peace.

Mama Krit said...

This post was really fun to read. I wish so much that I could talk to some of the people I love who passed. It's neat to see how you learn so much that you don't understand until many years later.