Susan is dead.
The cancer finally took her
It was a long fight
My mother called my today
She asked how I was
Busy, tired, stressed, the usual
She didn’t want to tell me that she had just buried her cousin, who was like a sister that she never had, and lived across the street from her for her whole childhood, but she was obviously bursting at the seams.
Susan has been a point of conflict and grief for sometime now;
Since her remission.
We have known for just less than a month now that it wouldn’t be long
She was in a coma
She had given up the fight
As more of my mothers side of the family passes away more of the secrets of the past, of my past that I will never understand disappear into the earth with their remains. My mother swears to me that she isn’t going to talk until her mother dies, a promise, which just shows how much her mother still controls and scares my mother.
God, why do you have to take all the good ones first, why is my family left with the rotting evil grandmother, my does my mother have to suffer the loss of another person who she loved so much.
“We just got back from Louisiana, in Marthasville.”
“What were you doing in Louisiana?”
“We were at a funeral”
“Who died?” a question I could have guessed the answer to but needed to hear to know for sure.
“…Susan.” My fear confirmed I began to remember Marthasville, I remember the grave yard where we put my grandfather, my mothers father, Peepaw, a name my brother and I were taught to call him in our infancy and youth.
At that moment despite being warm and safe in the lap and arms of my current lover Nate, at his house reading for my Women’s Literature class I was emotionally transported back to the moments surrounding my grandfathers funeral, the solitude, the suffocating atmosphere of my extended family. I was fifteen, and it was January or February of my sophomore year of high school.
My grandfather died suddenly of a stroke in his home; my mother was rattled to the core. His loss was the first that I had experienced quite so close to home. I came back from the experience a different person, no one knew how to deal with me, not my closest friends or my mother, who is truth never knew how to deal with me, or my teachers, who hardly noticed as I was all ready an angry and sullen teenager.
The actually experience I had with my family is one I remember in cloudy episode surrounded by long car rides, and extended time. The days spent in Shreveport, and Blanchard, and Caddo parish, the day in Marthasville, and the nights living in-between my two grandmothers houses, alone on a blow up mattress listening to my music in headphones wishing desperately to be somewhere else, to not be alone, to have my boyfriend or someone to listen to me, or talk to who wasn’t a part of the awful passion play that is my mothers relatives. I spent time with my sketchbook, writing about my own thoughts, drawing my family or anything in the house to get my mind away from the situation, from my parents fighting about my grandmother’s emotional abuses on my mother. My mother consumed in insuring her fathers obituaries were all spelled correctly, my cousin Amanda, compulsively vacuumed specific parts of the house, I suppose it was her method of coping. My family, my mother and father, brother and I, were the only people who spent every night at my evil grandmothers house, my mother slept in her bed where her father used to sleep. While the rest of us went to my Fathers mothers house to sleep. My mother left in the talons of Elizabeth.
Today my grandfather as a topic of discussion still picks at a scabby wound on my mothers soul, about his things, photographs of him, memories of him, all these things can bring my mothers wrath or tears in a few poorly thought out words.