My grandma died two months ago today. She's the first grandparent I've lost, and really the first family member that I knew well enough to miss. It was weird. I had a great day with friends, went shopping and to a movie, and I really didn't spend a lot of time like I did last month checking the clock to find out exactly where I had been the month (or, in this case, two months) before.
But, she was always just to the left of whatever I was thinking. I've worn a ring she gave me for my college graduation every day since the morning she died (before I wore it only once in awhile) and today I took it off and the inscription caught my eye. I forget that she inscribed it. "Love G.M.A.S." And yeah, the periods are inscribed too. I've always thought that was funny. But, she was funny too, and quirky.
A few years ago she was in the hospital because she had another bout with congestive heart failure. She was hooked up to oxygen, but we were allowed to have her come home for the afternoon because it was Thanksgiving. We didn't know it but her oxygen tube got unhooked from the machine, so she wasn't getting as much as she needed. We took her back to the hospital because her speech was slurring and she was really out of it. When we put her in the back seat of the car I sat next to her and she grabbed my hand. She held my hand the whole way to the hospital and when we stopped and were getting out of the car, she wouldn't let go of my hand. We went all the way up to her room and got her back into bed; she only let go of me a few times. I held her hand the whole time she was laying in bed. Whenever I tried to move after she'd fallen asleep she would wake up and grab back on to me tighter. She said "Don't let go." I said "I won't let go, Grandma." And I didn't, until she said that it was okay.
It was always weird to me that she was so adamant that I hold her hand. I've never had anyone so dependent on me before. I was a comfort to her, and that was a comfort to me.
At her wake, I couldn't stop holding her hand. Right there in the casket. I didn't just touch her hand like I usually try to do at funerals, but I pulled her hands apart and held her right hand in both of mine. I held it until it felt warm to me. I pushed her wrinkled skin around trying to make it look just right. I kissed her hand and wished that they were warm Grandma hands rather than cold embalmed hands. I held her hand for as long as I could trying to etch in my head how it felt, how I felt, and remember exactly how her hand felt in mine.
I can still remember it now if I think about it. I have to think, though, and I know that eventually the details of the memory will slip away from me. But, I remember the Thanksgiving at the hospital and that was years ago, so I'm hoping that I'll have years with the memory of Grandma's hands yet to come.