It is pitch black in the room. Silent, except for the steady breaths the baby is taking while curled up on my chest. She’s been sick and I just wanted to hold her till she slept. She’s been asleep for a while now, but I’m still holding her. It’s comforting. Her breaths match mine. Our chests rise and fall in unison. I nuzzle my cheek into her soft hair and clutch her a little tighter. It’s been a hard few days and I need her right now. I need this moment of just the two of us sitting in the dark, breathing.
I don’t believe in God. Or angels. I don’t believe in prayer. But right now? I need to talk to someone. I need to just let things out and pour my heart into the sky. So I talk to her. To Betty. I lost her, my Grandmother, five years ago. I was pregnant with my son when she died. He never got to meet her, but she knew he was coming. I know how excited she was for me, for us. She would have been the most amazing Great Grandmother imaginable.
She was without a doubt the kindest soul to walk this planet. Her voice was always full of joy and her eyes lit up when she was around someone she loved. She would do anything for anyone. Her heart was unlike any other. I cannot express in mere words how much I loved her and how much I miss her in my life today. I wonder what our lives would be like if she was still here.
So I talk to her. In the dark, clutching my baby girl with tears streaming down my cheeks. I ask her what I’m supposed to do. What my life has become. I beg her to show me somehow, in some small way, that things are going to be ok.
Silence. There is no sound. Nothing. The flicker of Christmas lights outside is the only motion. I sigh. I am smart enough to know that she won’t magically appear and give me a sign. I know the TV won’t turn itself on in a show of her presence. I know these things. But I still want to know I’ll be ok. I want her to be the person who assures me. But she can’t, and I’m left in the dark crying because I miss her.
I can feel her quiet strength, though. She never let on until the very end how sick she was. She kept her pain inside. She fought hard. She smiled until she could smile no more, and when that happened is when she left. I am trying to channel that quiet strength. I want so much to be stronger than I have been. I am searching for the zen of “this too shall pass”, and I’m counting on her to help me.
I have been forced to think about things I never imagined thinking about in the last year. I have found that within myself there are demons I didn’t even realize existed. Being put in a situation where you think about these things is very humbling. I didn’t know. I had always thought I was so tough. I’m not. I’m every bit as vulnerable as the rest of the world. But I have hope. I have Betty’s blood in my veins and that woman handled everything that came her way. I have to believe, I must, that I possess some of that strength as well. So I am trying. I’m trying so hard to channel her, and behave as she would.
Grandma Betty- I miss you so very much.