Thursday, May 27, 2010

funeral flowers.

The day my beloved Zia passed away I was in transition from grade nine to ten. My most vivid memory is of myself walking down the isle in the funeral home where her body lay - cold, stiff, elegant, alive looking, yet closed. The flowers around her, reading "Cara Sorella," "Cara Zia," and "Beloved Mom," filling the room with a sweet smell of summer and the end of one summer but the beginning of a new season. I can picture the brown pews all in a row and my family in a long black line preparing to kiss me on both cheeks as I choked back tears perfectly. I walked down the isle, not saying anything to anyone, breathing heavily. I never got to say goodbye. Never. My Mom dropped me off at a friend's house that morning and phoned me in the evening to tell me the news. I didn't see my Zia in the hospital. I only saw her lifeless. I began to cry that day at her funeral and ran into the arms of her son, crying unstoppable tears. The one person who got me was gone forever. Or so I thought...

*

I fought with my Mom and Dad that day. It was the first high school party I'd ever go to and they didn't want me to go. They were being to paranoid, or so I thought. I took advantage of life, that day, because when it was time to go home, I didn't go to my own bed. I was brought to my grandfather's house, a house he built himself, to his dying body. My family was looking at me and asking how the party was. I was silent. I screamed at my Mom for not bringing me there sooner. I regret not spending more time with my grandfather before he passed away. I was fifteen. I didn't think he'd actually leave so early. Walking into his room with his brothers and sisters surrounding him, crying, was the hardest thing I've ever done. I couldn't say goodbye. Not like that.

*
Pardon the dramatic introduction, but I just got home from the hospital. I was originally going to hang out with Nick tonight, but I had to cancel those plans because of what happened today. My grandmother made an abrupt decision earlier today - she didn't want to have surgery. If she was still egging this decision on, she'd only have six more months to live. Her words, "I don't want to be opened up like a lamb being killed for some one's dinner." Six more months to live, but an eternity with her husband, two sisters, brother, and parents. My grandmother has lived through a lot. Three children, seven grandchildren, Mother's Day blowups (on the regular), broken hearts, and so much more. She has witnessed her closest relatives die, living as a still life in critical condition, and being buried beneath the ground. Her abrupt decision today, though somewhat selfish, was to protect her own family from seeing her in a troubled condition. 

Thank the Lord up above, if He or She is really there, that my grandmother changed her mind. I don't care if I have to share my room with her, sleep at her house every night, or deprive myself of sleep altogether, she is going to have this surgery on Monday and in a few months she will be as good as new.

The reason I started this post with such a morbid and emotional introduction is because I don't want to ever miss out on any more goodbyes. I was the first baby granddaughter that my grandmother held in her arms on October 3, 1990. I was the one who took her down to the hospital on Tuesday, in complete silence, as we were both afraid of what the outcome would be. I am the one who is going to be there for her in every situation, even if she is annoyed at my constant presence.

I signed my grandmother's cast today, even though she didn't want me to (stubborn but lovely Italian woman). I wrote "Feel better" with a smiley face and a heart. I signed my name. Those two words brightened her mood. She was so happy and started talking about the future, too. When she gets better and is at home, she is planning a nice family dinner out by Lake Ontario with all of her children, her son-in-laws, her one daughter-in-law, and all of her grandchildren. "Tutta la famiglia - the Coccia's, the Tantalo's, and the Palmeri's."


As hard as the surgery is going to be on my grandmother and on everyone else, things are looking brighter.

Every time something takes a turn for the better, my Mom and I get a whiff of the flowers at my Zia's funeral. Perhaps it's just because we're crazy or because we over exaggerate everything, but I smelled flowers tonight in the nasty parking garage across from the hospital. Is that even possible? I mean, is it possible to smell legit flowers blooming and blowing in the wind in a sketchy and gasoline smelling underground parking garage? I don't think the smell of legit flowers is very promising, so I'm going to go with my gut.

My grandmother has so many angels watching over her. She has family beside her. She will be okay. It's just sad because this has all happened so fast; her diabetes, her high blood pressure, her high cholesterol, and now her heart problem(s). But, no matter how many meds my grandmother is put on, how many more times she's going to criticize my cooking (well, when she compares it to her own cooking my cooking abilities suck so bad), or how many more times she is going to be calling me for help, I'll be there. 

My grandmother has always promised me that she will one day show me how to make Ciambelle (these amazing Italian cookies). I know that she may not be able to teach me right now, but I have a feeling that in a few months I'm going to be digging out the eggs and flour. 

1 comment:

If Life Gives You Lemons, Don't Eat Them said...

I hope your grandmother has a successful surgery and she gets 100% better