Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Grandmother's Funeral

My grandmother passed away right before Christmas my senior year of college. I boarded a train with my grandmother still alive and when I stepped off it and asked my father how she was, he replied, "No one called you?" Not a good sign and it wasn't. (Better, however, than the emails my father now sends to notify us if someone died. If you receive an email from my father and the subject line is a person's name, assume that person is dead.)

Relevant details about my grandmother for this story: she was blind (had been since age 2) and liked to sleep with her "things about her" as we put it.  Since my Grandpa Elias's death, my grandmother had slept on the right side of the bed with her suitcase and small radio next to her. She listened to this radio all night long. When I was little and she stayed with us, I used to sleep with her in my bed and we'd just listen to the radio all night. (She would also snap at me for any movement. According to H, I don't speak or move in my sleep and he often thinks I am dead. Early training tells. She also used to bring tums and forgot them one time. I hid them and ate them like candy for weeks.)

My first trip to Florida. I was 2 months. 
She would probably kill me for putting up a picture with her in a housecoat, but her hair and nails are perfect.

When she died, my mother and uncle wanted to bury some of her things with her, including her radios and a phone as she loved calling people. This conversation ensued:

Mother: Should we put in her phone? Maybe we should buy a cell phone and put it in?
Uncle: No, because then I'd worry that she'd call me in the middle of the night or what if I called the number and someone picked up?

An impasse had been reached, you might say. But the morning of her funeral, I saw my sister place what looked like a rotary phone in the casket. After we had our final moments with her, they closed the casket and wheeled her out of the room to go to the church. I turned to my sister and said, "You know, that phone looked like my fake-rotary phone I used when I lived off-campus."

My sister replied, "Did you want that back?"

It was my phone. I turned to my mother and said, "G put my phone in with Grandma."

My mother said, "Oh, do you want us to get it out?"

No, no. I think I'm good.

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