Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"Are you mad at me?" Jeremy asked, his eyes filled with concern.

I leveled a glare at him.

"I'm mad at everybody."

He raised his eyebrows and cheerfully replied, "Oh," as if my explanation made it okay.

It sort of did, I guess. I felt that in confessing that much it somehow diffused things a little.

Go back seven days...

I got a phone call early Sunday morning from Emily. I had just finished applying the last layer of make-up and gave myself a militant nod in the mirror when Jeremy handed me the phone.

"You have one voice message," my phone said.

"Okey day," I replied and pressed 1 really hard, and it auto dialed my voice mail.

Emily's voice came on the line.

"...*cough* Dara, I know you are really busy today but I have something really important to tell you."

It could only be one thing.

I called her back.

"Hey," she answered.

"" and then I waited.

"Grandma passed away."

I wasn't surprised, but I was surprised. For the last year, Gigi had given me the impression she was immortal, and would, in fact, be here when the world ended.

I gasped and sniffed loudly, my eyes over-flowing as I walked aimlessly down the hallway.

Little did I know the storm I unleashed on the other end of the line.

"I love you," Emily managed, her voice quavering, and I replied in kind, and we discussed briefly the details and visitations.

I made it to the kitchen where I buried my face in a dish towel.

I went searching for Jeremy and I found him in the living room, where he was straightening some things up, and chatting with Elena, who was wrapped up in a blanket on the couch.

I peeked out from behind the towel and feebly announced, "Grandma died..." A new fit of sobs emerged from my face, and Elena looked at me oddly, probably flabbergasted at the gushing mess that was her aunt.

We took the kids to see Gigi, and say our goodbyes.

As we stood in her room, I held Lily, and spoke in a whisper.

"Gigi's gone," I said softly.

Lily gasped, and whispered some gibberish.

"Bye bye, Gigi," I said, my eyes welling.

"Bye bye," Lily whispered. "Bye bye..."

Joshua was watching us, and tears slid down his cheeks

We all filed out, and went downstairs. We only stayed for a few minutes before Mom shoved us out the door, either because my kids were having screaming meltdowns in her kitchen, or because I was a geyser waiting to happen, and she didn't need either, thank you very much.

I went home and curled up in bed, my head completely dehydrated, and my soul weary.

I sprang back pretty well the next day, however. Gigi was home now, free from her aged body, and with her family. That was something to rejoice in!

Becky called at some point, and asked if she could stay with us for the funeral. I said she could, and eagerly looked forward to having the whole family together.

Now, I've never experienced the death of someone I knew and loved before. When little Liam Lyon died, I was devastated for the life he wouldn't live, and for the enormous light he exuded that was extinguished in this mortal sphere. I had no idea the range of emotions that would manifest at the death of Gigi.

After the initial sorrow, something odd happened.

Becky, Emily, Aislyn, Allissa and I were sitting at the piano the night before the funeral. The retelling of my reaction the previous Sunday elicited boisterous laughter, especially when I was able to make fun of myself about the whole thing, especially when I recounted my use of the dish towel. I would try and retell it like I did then, but you would need to see my facial expressions. Anyway, we told stories about Gigi, and laughed, and had a generally good time. The song practice ended up being a gaggle of girls yacking and we didn't get anything done until much later. The practice lasted all of ten minutes, and the evening ended with us swapping ghost stories in the bathroom.

I thought I had laughed and cried myself out.

No. There are always more tears to shed.

I can see why Mom doesn't want a funeral. I don't think I want one either. I think I'd rather everyone gather at the grave site, chuck me in unceremoniously, throw in a few flowers for sentiment, and then bury me good and hard, and then have a barbecue.

All of my attempts not to cry at the funeral were thwarted by the very person who didn't want us to cry (Mom), and the only time I was able to pull myself together was when Jenny would grin really, really big showing each and every one of her teeth, and topped the expression off by popping her eyes wide when Mom started to lose it. Jenny, I want you to do that to everyone if I die before you. Or, if you die before me, I'm going to make sure I take a picture of that face and blow it up on a huge poster and frame it, and make sure it's right there at my grave. If it won't make them laugh, at least it might freak them out enough to not cry.

The rest of the weekend was made up of late nights and too-early mornings. Sunday was the worst day. We had been up 'til 4 AM, and I toyed with the idea of just staying up, but I knew I would probably end up imploding at some point if I did.

It was later that day when Jeremy and I had our conversation. I really was angry with everyone, for no particular reason.

As I reviewed my weekend and my lack of good sleeping patterns, I thought to myself, "Well...Gigi is sleeping enough for all of us."



Trillium said...

Well, she is as happy as a lark now. I'm absolutely certain of that. And wide awake with a smile.

Tina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Dara. I just lost my grandma in June and it's definitely hard. I'm glad you have such a loving family and the night with your sisters all around the piano and ending in the bathroom sounds like a blast!! You are wonderful!!

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