Life Never Stops

…and as soon as I pick a working title I realize that’s not correct, either.

It’s been a month since Grandma Teresi passed away. I’m relieved she’s at peace, but I miss our talks. We existed in two totally different worlds, and there were things about which we didn’t agree, but she was a good friend and a reassuring voice through some of the weirder days of my young adulthood.

I had started to write an extended obituary for her, but I realized it would have embarrassed her and (possibly) hurt others’ feelings. She shared a lot with me. How she grew up, how her marriage evolved, and how she managed relationships in a family that was just too large to know everyone well.

One story she told me, and I repeat this at risk of some kind of post-corporeal wrath, was about the day her mother died. She said she knew what had happened before the phone rang, that her mother had spoken to her, saying something to the effect of “Mabel, é lindo aqui” or: It’s beautiful over here.

By the time she had shared this story she had made it perfectly clear she was ready to Go Home, so I wasn’t timid about discussing death. I told her I wanted her to do the same for me. Just a word to know she’s okay. Although she thought it was a bit heretical she said she’d send word if she could.

What woke me that Sunday was my wife’s distress about the Caller I.D. bearing the name of a cousin who would only call the house twice in a row for one reason. I hope Grandma missed that last chance to surprise me because she was welcomed Home by too much love to linger.

It’s been almost 25 years since my dad died. Grandma’s later days brought his absence back to front-of-mind a few times. He should have been here to comfort her and to help his little sister carry the burden of those last days. I tried to help, but there just wasn’t much I could do from three hours away. I’m grateful to my aunt and cousins for all they’ve done. The Teresi-Palomo-Wilder women are a tough bunch, and they got that from Grandma.

Dad, you better be grateful you’ve got her back.

I’m ready for Fall to get here. Summers in Fresno are always draining, even one as mild as this. There’s something comforting about the closeness of the holidays. The feeling of winding down and putting a year in the history books sets my mind at ease. The potential of new beginnings and a low winter sun to illuminate without burning…