Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
I was happy when I found out, which was exactly when it happened. I pictured you walking with your husband down a beautiful autumn sidewalk, hands swinging and cancer-free lungs breathing. I am happy for you, because you loved him, and he loved you, and you were apart for a long time – now you’re not. I watch too many soap operas (hey, can’t blame me – you watched too much Oprah) but I’m glad your love story has a happy ending even if ours doesn’t. We’ll be really empty without you for a long time. You were the center and the core of this family, you kept every one of us strong, and now we’re not sure what to do. I’ll just be honest about that. I can’t write about your last days, or about your life, because I didn’t know it as well as my parents and aunts and uncles did. I saw a picture of you and grandpa at either mom and dad’s wedding or one of my aunt’s. You’re beautiful, and I’ve been told I look like you. I saw it and remembered Papa but also that I can’t really remember how he loved me. I can remember being one of his favorites, but since he got a head start on you, I can’t remember the hows and whys. But I remember how you loved me. I remember your food, the way there was always potato salad in the fridge and you were always in the mood for tomatoes and cottage cheese. My fondest memories, though, are at the old house, you in your comfy leather chair.
I remember the picture in the room I used to stay in of you and your husband – you were a proper beautiful young woman I used to liken to a movie star who I was proud to call my grandmother. That’s how I imagine you now, with your love taking casual walks down the block and now you’re not burdened by time. I know this isn’t even the hardest for me. It’s hard for me, and it will be for a while, but it’s harder for your daughters and your sons and those who shared lunch and teatime with you and whiled away the day chatting it up. My brother and my cousins will be your pall-bearers and tomorrow they will carry you even though they know your burden is light and ours is heavy.
We are proud. Writing a letter to you is mostly useless because I know between Jesus and your best friend I doubt you have much time, but we….we are proud and we are indebted. All of us are. You were there when we came into the world- ushering us in with gentle smiles and warm kisses. You built this family. We are proud.
I wonder if you ever found the video of me singing along to The Little Mermaid when I was little. I know you wanted to see it. In between moves and my embarrassment, I don’t know if you ever saw it, but tonight I’ll sing ‘Part Of Your World’ as loud as I can and maybe you and Papa will hear from heaven and give a little chuckle.