There will be a moment in your life when you will feel what it’s like to live without someone. And, I’m not talking about living without an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. I’m talking about actually having to live without someone because they passed away. There will be a moment when you sit down all alone in your living room and think of what that person would be doing right now and it’s going to hurt. It won't hurt as much as it did the day they left, but you’re going to see and feel that empty hole in your chest. You’re going to be painfully aware of this cavity that cannot, and will not, ever be filled. It seems as though this hole in your chest is encased with precious museum quality glass and allows everyone to see right through you…
When I was a child, my parents worked a lot and my sister and I got babysat by our grandmother. Her name was Yvette. She was about 5 feet tall, white and grey short curly hair, and she had blue eyes and a few hairs on her chin. She wore dentures which she faithfully took out at night and never failed to talk to us without them in her mouth before going to sleep!
I would sleep at her house often. I would sleep next to her at night but her snoring was so loud that I’d end up sleeping on the couch. She would always have the warmest blankets—you know, the ones that you can’t buy at the store but are handmade with love. I’d bury myself with four of five blankets and I’d fall asleep.
You see, at that young age, I must have been around 6 or 7, I was afraid of the dark, so my grandmother would leave a night light on so I’d be less scared. I used to also sleep with a blanky (I still do!) around my head to warm my ears up at night and this used to drive her crazy! She was so scared that I’d choke myself with this yellow blanket that was falling apart. She’d tell me not to sleep with it around my neck. You know, grandmother’s just want to protect you and want the best for you in the end. So, to satisfy her, I’d take it down and once I heard those snores, I knew it was safe to warm up my ears again.
My grandmother used to collect cows. She just loved them. She had cups with cows on them, cow teddy bears, cow aprons, cow statuettes, cow toys, cow everything! I used to find this odd until she died. Once she passed away on April 26th, 2007, every damn cow I saw made that hole in my chest grow a little wider.
My grandmother was also a little poor. She lived in a small two bedroom apartment with noisy upstairs neighbors. She never had the best of anything but, she always made the best of everything. She used to make my sister and me, and often my father as well, the ultimate dishes. She would take very little ingredients, as her budget didn’t allow her to splurge, and come up with the most tasteful menu. For example, her pizza. She used to buy the dough and, sometimes hand make it, she would use a small can of tomato sauce and veggies and hamburger meat and, for sausages, she would cut hot dog slices. Fuck, that was the best damn pizza you could ever feed a 6-year-old! She would also make the ultimate desserts. She’d also make the most amazing chicken stew that no one in my family can reproduce. And, since she didn’t have a lot of money, something that I wasn’t aware of at the time, she’d take us to the grocery store and she would buy us orange ice cream. It wasn’t the best but, right now, I’d give up everything in my life to eat one last bowl with her.
My grandmother was my favorite person growing up. We’d go strawberry picking for hours on end, we’d listen to cheesy French Canadian Western music on the red porch of her camper. We’d make strawberry mouse together and god, did she ever make the best strawberry mouse. We would sit and reluctantly watch the news with her and even though I hated watching Abbe Lanteigne tell us about New Brunswick’s downfalls and cheers ups, I would love nothing more than to sit on that uncomfortable couch again with the blankets piled up on the left side one more time with her.
I have to laugh. Now that she’s been gone for 12 years, every day I see or do something that reminds me of her. For example, she used to hate when I’d put my hair behind my ears because she thought since my bunched up hair in the back of my ears caused them to stick out a bit, that I would grow up and my ears would stick out forever. Now, every time I put my hair behind my ears, I still hear her voice telling me to stop!
I also vividly remember the time she got extremely upset with me because I kept bringing rocks in the camper she used to live in during the summers. She would find rocks everywhere and she would throw them back outside! I loved and still love collecting rocks, but, since that moment, I have tried to limit my rock intake, hehe!
My grandmother, Yvette, also wore this white sleeveless top with blue flowers on it, she would also wear this other sleeveless top that was pink and orange with a weird flower on it as well. She would knit and sew and gave you $10 on Christmas in a mini stocking. She would make sure you ate, even if it was those little mini sausages in a can. She would make sure you showered and brushed your teeth. She would try her best to help you with your homework, even though she didn’t have the best education and didn’t know how to read. She would kiss your cheeks and be oh, so happy when she saw you walk through the front door.
My grandmother is my museum glass encasing.