Saturday, August 13, 2011


On the train to Los Angles for my Grandma's services I took a Valium & considered a drink from the Cafe car. I went down to the lower level of the train car to change into a black skirt & blouse, my other goal to secure that drink. I had serious doubts I could handle the viewing and family completely sober. Damned if the Cafe car wasn't at the far other end of the train. I didn't have enough inner balance to walk that many moving cars & then back again.

When we detrained there was time to wait for our family to pick us up. I distracted myself by walking through Union Station, a station I have known so well over the decades of my love affair with train travel. I narrowed my view through my camera lens. I focused on anything that had nothing to do with why I was there. It helped. I haven't looked at those photos yet, though I know it was good shoot with amazing fountain shots and some really cool photos of my son.

I walked through my Grandmother's wake & funeral in an empty fog, functioning because there was no other choice. My aunt wanted me to take pictures at the viewing. "You push this button," I said handing her my Kodak. I don't do that; I do not look at the dead. I sure as hell don't take their pictures, especially not my Grandma's. I found a seat in the lobby with my Grandfather. He never remembers who I am any more. He wanted to go home. I wanted to go home. We both wanted to not be there, we both wanted to go back in time to when there was a home to go to, where she was. If I drove, I would have taken him and we would have stayed at the house together talking about whatever he wanted to tell me. But, I don't so we were both stuck in that hell.

The next day, after the funeral, I walked into the building which had been my grandparent's house. If I thought I was in a fog the day before, I can't begin to describe what I was sloughing through then. Not a full week had passed, but one aunt had removed photos, objects, clothing, anything which had ever made this feel like my grandparent's home. On auto pilot, I ate some food at the kitchen table with my brother and a cousin. The three of us kept naming things which were gone. I had enough and wandered into my Grandmother's bedroom. The walls were just about bare, gone were all the photos of all of us grandchildren and our children. I lay across her bed. I looked at the bedside table with the same lamp which had been there for over 30 years. I couldn't recall when it wasn't there. Suddenly I knew; besides the cast iron skillet in which she had made our tortillas I wanted the table or the lamp or both. I remember sleeping at Grandma's house my whole life and watching her pluck her eyebrows at that table with that light. It was the last light on in that house for my entire life.

Today my other aunt came down for lunch and to drop off some things to Eldest Daughter & Little Dude. She brought me a small stack of those laminated wallet photos we used to take of my children with Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny just to be able to give them to Gigi. She also brought me the lamp.

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