Thursday, April 3, 2008

...I'd never think it odd that my grandma lived in the French-speaking part of Canada when neither she nor I speak French when I came to say goodbye

When we arrive at the funeral home, I am unprepared. Steps away from the entrance, I stop, turn around and go to my mother, who continues walking towards the entrance. I tell her that all of a sudden I'm not sure, that I'm a little scared. She says there's nothing to be scared of, barely losing a step. I follow her because there is movement all around me, no one else feels anything like what I'm feeling, so I push it aside to think about later and walk in with everyone else.

Everyone walks to the front of the room where the open casket stands. We gather around, hushed, and look to see my grandma lying with her eyes closed, her face smooth and at ease, like she is enjoying a deep, profound sleep. Something comes up from inside me and I look away -- it brings a lumpy ball, like too many spoonfuls of oatmeal eaten at once, to the back of my throat and tears to the back of my eyes. I am careful not to move my eyes too much, so I can avoid looking at everyone else, by staying focused on the lumpy oatmeal ball or the lace on my grandma's shirt. I am not prepared to see anyone else.

There are days of preparation before the actual funeral. People come and go, my aunts and uncles speak with people. The rest of us sit, observe, look at my grandma's peaceful face. And it is so peaceful and at rest. Her skin is tan and there is nothing beneath it troubling her, concerning her. Nothing at all to cause her to have even the smallest of frowns or furls. This is the story her face tells.

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