I knew when I looked at my phone notifications this morning around 8 a.m., that something important had happened. My mom never calls me in the early morning, unless we’re standing in line at some store on Black Friday and then, I’m expecting her call.
I didn’t hear the phone, because of the “Do Not Disturb” beauty that exists in iOS6. From 11 until 9, unless you call me repeatedly or I have you on my favourites list (note to self, I need to really set up the favourites list), my phone will not make a noise. (Second note to self: I really need to let people in my family know this….)
Anyhow, my mom called me to tell me that Daisy-Ruth, my paternal grandmother, known as the evil, crazy grandmother died at some point last night.
My Dad, as I knew he would be, is not completely broken up, but is still a bit emotional over the news. His sisters - well, at least two of the four - are heartbroken - they are the youngest of her children. No one knows where my dad’s oldest sister is, and the other one, is probably more rational than the other two.
Mostly, Daisy-Ruth’s death puts an end to a long, kind of nightmare of abuse. She abused my father and his eldest sister (the one no one has seen in literally decades) and when I say abuse, I mean beat the living shit out of him for not washing a dish correctly and beat him with broom handles, leather belts - you name it, if she could swing it, she’s hit him with it. She mellowed as her younger children grew up, but has never been what you might call warm and fuzzy.
She was, however, evil, and the last time I spent any amount of “quality” time with her, was as my grandfather, Grumpy, lay dying. She glared at me, as if I had any control over my genetic code, such as facial features and eyes, and repeatedly told me, from then on, anytime we met… “well, you’re a Bannister.” (Possibly, I wasn’t supposed to be at a family gathering, though… I wasn’t exactly what you might call welcome.) The only thing her death really leaves is the continual question of whether being a Bannister was a good thing or a bad thing.
I choose, though, to see it as a good thing.
And maybe I’m in shock, or in the controlled mode my mind and body go into whenever there’s a crisis.
…But, I’d rather remember the woman, my good grandmother, whose birthday is this weekend and whose mental death, if not her physical one, took her from me far too soon. She was the one who taught me many things… and, in an ideal world, it would have been wonderful to have two grandmothers care about me… but, if any one woman could make up for the lack of another, it would have been my mother’s mom, the good - the balance. The one that would look at me right now and know that I’m not tired - I’m sick, the one that would look at me right now and lecture me on cheese and chocolate - that would take them out of my hands - force me to drink apple juice and lay down, because I didn’t know my limits… and, I still don’t. That woman? Was a saint… The good, countering the evil - even in death.
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