Sunday, November 6, 2011

Random Sifting | Three Days of November

Day Two :: (you can read Day One here)

My younger sister, Sandra, and I were in the kitchen eating Cheerios for breakfast when there was a knock at the door. It was our Uncle Roger. Sandra kept saying,

“Grandma’s dead. Grandma’s dead.”

I became agitated and angry and told her to shut up. In a gritting-my-teeth fashion I said, “Grandma…is…not…dead. Stop…saying…that!” Even though I knew that Uncle Roger rarely came to visit that early in the morning, she could not be dead. She just couldn’t be. I needed her.

Shortly thereafter we heard our mother let out a scream and Sandra said, “See, I told you she is dead.” Again I told her to shut up.

Uncle Roger came in and broke the news to Sandra and me. He really did not have to say anything. I could see it in his face. I jumped out of my seat, threw my fists into his stomach and shoved him back as I ran out of the kitchen. My mother tried to stop me, but Uncle Roger told her to let me go.

It was November 3, 1975. I was ten.

My grandmother had been ill for quite some time; cancer had come to claim her body. All I knew was that she was ill. As time went on, I knew death was eminent, but when you are ten years old, you try not to think about things like that.

Before my grandmother died, I had gotten into an argument with my mother. I do not recall what caused the argument; probably the usual ten-year-old fits. In my anger, I told my mother that I hoped that Grandma died. I prayed to God and asked him to take my grandmother away from my mother. In my ten-year-old mind, I had not realized that taking my grandmother away from my mother also meant He had to take her away from me. Before I knew it, Grandma had died.

In Sunday school they always told us that if you wanted or needed something all you had to do was pray and ask God. We were always told that God hears and answers all prayers. They never told us that you do not always get the answer you want. But I had. I prayed and asked God to take my grandmother away and He did, so in my young mind all I had to do was pray for God to bring her back. So I did. I prayed. I pleaded. I cried. I bargained. I took back the hateful, angry words I said to my mother. It was all to no avail. God obviously did not hear me, didn’t care, or simply did not exist.

No one in my family knew of my prayers, or the impact that my grandmother’s death had on me. I didn’t even realize it until I hit my late 30’s. I went through life riddled with guilt; which was compounded by the fact that I was not allowed to attend her funeral services, apologize and say goodbye. If I had not prayed for God to take my grandmother away, she might have lived.

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and my Aunt Myra. I was very close to the both of them. Myra was only five years older than I, so she was more like a big sister than an aunt. They were the two people in my childhood world who made me feel accepted, loved and wanted. Grandma died, and as a result, Myra had to move away. I would have no idea how much of an impact that would have on my life.

Immensely is a word that comes to mind now.

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