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.