Begin Again.

I haven’t posted anything since October, a few days before Grandma passed away.

In my last post, I wrote about trying to get a bug out of my car and killing it in my attempts to set it free. I sat in the passenger seat while Mark drove us to the hospital to visit my grandmother. The Dodgers were playing in the first game of the World Series. Mark and I both wore blue and listened to the game on the way to the hospital.

At the hospital, we turned the game on the television. Grandma told us, in between moans, how she and Grandpa used to get season tickets. I’ve never seen her in so much pain. She shut her eyes tightly, crying aloud, her body tense and clenched. The pain would come in waves and last about a minute or so. She told us she waited to take the pain meds so she wouldn’t be out of it during our visit. I asked her to please take the meds.

At one point Grandma said, “Okay, I’ll have alcohol now.” She laughed.

“What did you say?” I said. “Say it again so I can get you on camera.”

We all laughed.

I never saw my grandmother drink alcohol my entire life. She never drank. But she drank Pepsi like water. Before we left for the hospital I asked if she needed anything. The answer was, “A cold Pepsi.”

I knew from seeing her in so much pain and the alcohol comment that this was not a good sign.

At some point she finally got her meds and the pain decreased.

The Dodgers beat the Astros that night 3-1. I was glad she got to see it. And I was thankful my husband was there with us. He always made her laugh. We had a great visit despite the pain, there was Pepsi, Dodgers and laughter.

I felt guilty leaving her but her pain had subsided and Mark and I were starving.

We kissed her goodbye, told her we loved her and we’d see her again soon.

Mark and I left and as we walked toward the parking structure, Mark playfully grabbed me and pulled me into the stairwell for a romantic kiss. We kissed and laughed at our cheesy affections.

We went to sushi for dinner. Mark talked a lot with the sushi chef and the chef kept handing us things we didn’t order. But everything was delicious. I think he enjoyed our company.

I told Mark how appreciative I was that he went to see Grandma with me. And how I was so happy that he made her laugh.

We ate too much sushi, drank some beer and sake and felt comforted for the night.

Five days later Grandma passed away and the Dodgers lost game five of the series. Mark and I were there, along with other family members and friends, and it was a very long and heart wrenching day. There was a sense of peace when Grandma finally let go but I had yet to let go.

And I stopped writing for a number of reasons but mostly because I felt lost.

Well, I don’t feel as lost anymore but I’m still working on letting go.

There is so much I could write about her. I could fill a book. And maybe one day I will.

The one thing I will say is: she wanted to be the one, the only, the capital “G” – Grandma. She hated when I would say grandma followed by her name because she wanted to be number one.

Well, Grandma, you were it. My number one “G,” best G-Ma eva. I will love you always.

The Neighbors Have Lives.

There was a sample station at the end of the grocery isle. Mia was my shopping companion that day. My seven-year-old daughter spotted the table straight away. “Can we try it?” She asked.

“Yes.” I said.

But I hesitated. I stood still and observed. A tall man stood behind the tall table draped in a long black cloth. A spread of deli meats, cheeses and pretzels with hummus decorated the table’s top. I recognized a woman from our complex, the one who always wears a baseball cap, chatting to other consumers with delight. More people approached the table and I came to the conclusion, it was best to wait.

“But let’s come back when there’s not so many people.” I suggested.

“Yeah.” Mia agreed.

But she had more to say…

“That lady is just standing there, babbling to everyone, trying everything, telling them, ‘This is good. Try this one.'” She explained with hand gestures and the disapproval of her head.

I probably should have said something like, “That lady is our neighbor and she’s enjoying herself.” Or, “Patiently await your turn without putting down others who are receiving.”

Something motherly and wise. But instead, I laughed.

We are accustomed to step up to the table, take a bite, say ‘thank you’ and walk away. So in Mia’s defense, our neighbor wasn’t abiding by typical tasting station procedures.

When we returned, the table was cleared of consumers. We enjoyed a piece of turkey pastrami, said ‘thank you’ and walked away satisfied. It was really good. You should try some.

The next day, I spotted another neighbor of ours driving and it completely baffled me. I waited to make a U-turn as she turned left in front of me. She was headed in the same direction I intended to follow.

She is a petite older woman with short brown hair and bangs. I only ever see her out walking her dog, a petite black and white Shih Tzu with a similar hair cut. The dog wears a pink cloth harness and, if I remember correctly, has a sweet girly name like Penny or Maggie.

She drives? I thought.

Where is she going? Where is her dog? Who’s walking the dog?

It were as though she only existed in this repetitive groundhog day reel of walking her dog. But, no! She does other things! She goes other places! How did I not realize this before?

Watching her drive away from the only reality I’ve known, awakened me.

Life is constantly telling me, There is so much happening that you are unaware of. There are whole worlds of living organisms, people and places, realities I’ll never know. The neighbors have lives. They still exist away from here, outside of the complex which connects us.