Today marks the first year anniversary of my Grandma's passing. I'm sure you've heard every person say it about every loved one they have ever lost, but if you were lucky enough to meet my grandma, you would know there are few people to have ever walked this earth like her. She was kind, loving, accepting, and most of all, she lived a life of integrity. It didn't matter who you were, or what you had done, my grandma loved you. And if she loved you, you knew it. And man, if she ever prayed for you, amazing things would happen. She touched so many people's lives, be them family, friends, neighbors, or even enemies, making a positive impact, and leaving them forever changed. I know for me, besides the amazing things she did for me all through out her life, even in her death she was still giving. At her funeral she was still teaching me about character, and reminded me how to trust my heart again after a long hiatus. And if you know me, I'm a person who makes every decision purely off a feeling, so this was the most wonderful gift she could have ever given.
Here is a poem I wrote the night after her wake, which I read at her funeral. I experienced a true dichotomy when I wrote it, experiencing fluidity of words, and the ease of writing, while simultaneously experience the hardship of death. Its called "those might be dogwoods."
I look out the window,
As a million thoughts pass me by,
To try and keep my mind from touching,
On what its like to die.
As I try to fight the grieving,
I hear someone say it could be,
That those beautiful white flowers,
Grace the branch of a dogwood tree.
And conversation stays light,
But it has yet to fail,
Because if silence breaks over us,
We know what that entails.
And as the car inches closer,
To the place that we all fear,
My heart begins to race and scream,
And I wonder if I will persevere
But the miles pass like seconds,
And the blinker flips to the right,
and the car passes over the street,
while I am wishing for a red light.
But belt comes off my chest,
When we land in our space
And the door opens wide,
And then we pick up the pace,
As the first door opens,
I know the time is here,
I’ll have to face the pain which I,
Have been trying to steer clear.
The second door way breaks apart,
And the silence pounds so loud,
My eyes sprint to the casket where my,
Grandma lays so proud.
I begin to wail just like the kid,
Who she always understood,
And the sleek persona I try to sport,
It felt like he was gone for good.
I had seen that face,
So many thousand times before,
And though the face still looked the same,
My mind couldn’t ignore.
The fact that she never wore a frown,
Or let company enter without saying well hi,
Or would sit quietly at a party,
As the time passed her by.
So I try and hide my tears,
And be strong, act like a man,
then a wave of consciousness comes over me,
and I begin to understand.
That although this life is fragile,
It only sets the stage,
For what is lying before as,
As we begin to turn the page.
As she lays there so still,
I let my hand glide across her face,
I know that with all my heart,
She’s in a better place.
And a peace comes over me,
that brings me back to feeling whole
My grandma’s legacy comes to mind,
And once again she touches my soul.
Then I smile so wide,
Like I did when she was here,
And I make it through the day,
The one that I had feared.
And tomorrow when I get in the car,
To drive back to the same place,
Someone will notice the beautiful white flowers,
And the dogwoods which they grace.
But this time it will be different,
Cuz no two days are the same.
And now more than ever
My heart will be touched by her name.
for Grandma Kirby, who remains in my heart each day.