Tomorrow morning will mark two weeks since you left. I’d like to think you’re in heaven. I realize that might just be my attempt to cope with the fact that you’re gone, but if ever such a place existed, you are surely qualified for admittance.
I haven’t done a great job of dealing with your rapid decline or your absence. I drink too much, eat too much, and haven’t gone climbing or exercised for months. Somehow it seems morally wrong to find pleasure and fulfillment in willfully risking my existence when you would have given anything for another month or two of life. Maybe I’ll get back into the game, but for now I find comfort in a glass of good wine and a few hours on the piano. I like to play songs for you, the same ones I played for you the day before you passed. Maybe you can hear them now, or maybe not. I’d like to think you can.
I find myself wishing a lot of things. They’re not regrets really; I treasure every memory of time spent with you, and we had some incredible times together…memories so beautiful and wonderful that I cry when I think about them. And yet, I still wish some things could be true.
I wish I could take you and Pops out to Don Julio’s one more time. Do you remember when I put too much of that green hot sauce on my enchilada and drank an entire pitcher of water trying to drown the fire in my mouth? God, how you laughed. I think we brought that up at every subsequent dinner there. Or how about the time that Pops spilled his drink all over the table and drowned my cell phone and the menus? That was right after you had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and that spilt beer brought some much-needed laughter to our table.
I wish I could smoke one more cigarette with you. I know those little bastards are what killed you, but there was something wonderful about lighting one up with you. I don’t smoke anymore, so don’t worry about me…but goddamn, I wish I could have one more with you out on the patio. I remember near the end when I had to light your cigarette for you and make sure you didn’t drop it and set yourself on fire! Watching you grow so frail and weak was heartbreaking, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry every time you nearly went up in flames.
I wish we could tackle one more project together. I was just looking at the realtor’s listing of your house online, and I gotta say – we did one hell of a nice job for a couple of amateurs. The rock beds around the house, the gutters, the raised flower bed, and countless attempts to eradicate weeds from the lawn…I would give anything to spend one more sunny July weekend working in the yard with you.
I wish I could take you climbing again. That was amazing, and you were one hell of a tough lady. I don’t know too many seventy year olds that would be willing to strap themselves into a harness and learn how to rappel and use ascenders on the rugged cliffs of the North Shore. I think I can safely speak for my brother when I say this, Grams – that night at Palisade Head will always be one of our favorite memories with you. I broke down sobbing when I found out that you had chosen a picture from that night to be on the bulletin for your funeral.
Most of all, Grams, I wish I could hug you one more time. I’m so glad you’re not suffering anymore, but goddamn, I wish I could wrap my arms around you and hold you. I miss the way you smelled…that mixture of cigarette smoke and perfume and whatever else was the way a grandma should smell. I wish I could tell you I loved you one last time as I felt your lips on my left cheek. You always kissed me on the left cheek.
I miss you terribly, and I’m afraid I am not so great at doing life without one of my best friends. You were always there, and now you’re gone…and it just doesn’t seem right. I hope I’ll see you again someday, and you’re always welcome to visit my thoughts and dreams. You were the best, and I love you so much.
Rest in peace, Grams. You earned it.