November 28th, 1989
The letter I sent Nana from Chicago arrived this morning. After I picked it up off the mat, with the rest of the post, I turned in the direction of the living room, so I could give it to Nana.
Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the floor, clutching the letter, sobbing because my Nana is gone and I’ll never have the chance to talk to her again. There was something about the realization of her not seeing not only my letter but the rest of her post, that suddenly made everything feel real. It really was the most awful feeling and it was ages before I managed to get up and pull myself together.
An hour later, mum’s youngest sister was with me when the hearse, carrying Nana’s coffin, arrived. My initial thought was to question how on earth the undertakers would get the coffin up two flights of stairs. The thought was absurd and I disliked myself for allowing my mind to go there but I think when you’re really sad all sorts of bizarre thoughts come to mind that perhaps normally wouldn’t.
Dad rang first thing this morning so I already knew to direct the undertakers to Nana’s bedroom. The three men in dark suits were very respectful in their movement and manner and gently closed the bedroom door. Once again I found my mind wandering to the ridiculous; that for those men, it was just another day at work.
Late this afternoon, family, friends and neighbours began to arrive to pay their respects. Mum didn’t show up with her brother until much later and for the second time today, I disliked myself for the anger I felt when it was obvious mum had had too much to drink. Mum’s brother, clearly, wasn’t sober either. Neither were her two sisters.
The night flew by and when only mum, her sister and I remained, I knew it was time. I’ve never liked Nana’s bedroom, it always felt damp and eerie but tonight, with the candles glowing around the coffin, it felt warm and peaceful.
I touched my fingertips to Nana’s forehead and was surprised at how cold it felt. I placed my hand over the rosary beads entwined in Nana’s tiny hands and I looked at her as I told her, over and over again, how much I love her. I spoke about mum and some other stuff and I broke down when I said, “I’ll really miss you, Nana.”
I already do.