Continued from part 1 (November)
Maybe she thought she didn't do anything special enough to need a funeral. Maybe she didn't want my mom to have to go to the expense. Or maybe because she'd lived long enough to see all her sisters, brother, parents and two loves die--she had just accepted that this was the next phase of her life and like she'd said, she was ready.
But still, I wish there had been that one last piece placed into the puzzle of her life--for me. I don't know if it would have been as much to say "goodbye" as to say, "I will never forget you."
That last time I saw her I knew it would be the last time and so there was this urgency. How do you encapsulate into a few words what has grown in your heart over a lifetime? She was propped up in the hospital bed she now spent every day in, just a few feet from a stranger in the next bed. This crazy, synthesized Christmas music was playing too loud in the halls. An alarm went off at the front doors as two orderlies grabbed an old woman as she tried to escape while crying, "Why can't I just go outside, I just want to go outside!?"
Seriously. It was too much for me. And there was my Baba. Just another old person waiting around to die. I wanted to take her out of there. I remember she told me, "They keep the lights on all night long."
I was desperate to tell her what I had known--with complete certainty--my entire life; that I loved her--just because she was my Baba. That she mattered to me and those little things she did, they were part of me.
It didn't turn out to be the deeply touching moment you are imagining. The crazy music, the women in the next bed staring and smiling at me--and me speaking really slow and loud--really loud. But I told her.
It was only about two months later, that she died. A day just like any other.
When my mom came to see my new baby boy--she brought me the last box--her engagement picture I'd framed for her one Christmas, the charm bracelet that had jingled around her wrist, the tiny blue pill box.
It has been ten years that I have wrestled with giving her a proper "goodbye". Her name was Lucy. Three years ago I named my daughter after her. Someday I'll get to tell Lucy about the woman I named her after. And now this is the second part of that "goodbye"--to put into words all the thoughts and memories of her that I have taken with me.