I don't have a lot of time to write. I have to work. I have to work on other peoples' writing, which I don't mind at all, because, actually, I love it. However, I work eight adjunct jobs, instead of one full time job and still, the ends! They don't meet! What's up with that?
My grandmother died last week. She was 96. She fell asleep and didn't wake up. It is, as they say, as if they would know, the best way to go. She wasn't herself so much more anyway. Her mind had begun to go away years ago, tiny drips out of her ears or something, to be rediscovered in little notes to herself. You bought the milk. You took your pill at 8am on Wednesday. Your clothes are in the closet. Your son came to visit this week. She had those little notes everywhere, before we knew they were holding her together.
Anyway, she died, and I explained it all to the Kid. The Kid is nearly four and a wild woman, and she wanted to know. I explained that her great-grandmother had died. Some people, I said, believed she is in her spirit body. Like the dog? the Kid asked. Like the dog, I said. We put the dog, who was senile herself, to sleep a few months ago. Now, my grandmother was joining her. Some people believe, I said, that she will be born again in a new body, either here or elsewhere, I said. The Kid didn't ask me what I believed. Not yet. And so I didn't mention that. I want her to make up her own mind about this one. I explained that we were having a party. That after people died, people had a party to celebrate their lives. I explained about the coffin and the burial. I didn't want her to be surprised by anything.
We dropped off the new puppy at the vet's, and the Kid cried because she didn't want to leave her. But she loved her princess dress and her funeral shoes (as she called them). On the morning of the funeral, she told my dad, I'm sorry about your mommy. Always she surprises me with her understanding of these things. She was a champ at the start, and held her finger to her lips to shush them because her great-grandmother was sleeping in the front of the room. As always, the open casket, the Southern open casket, sat in the front, defying, as always, my understanding of that particular custom.
The sermon was mercifully short. The songs lovely. The Kid sat in her beautiful Princess dress and watched. Then, something happened I'd forgotten to mention. It was my fault. The music started. We were all crying a little, and the pall bearers went to get the casket. They started to roll the casket out. And the Kid, in shock, stood up and began to wail. They are taking her away! she said. No, you can't leave here! she said. She has to stay. She has to stay!
I forgot to explain about the part where they do that. So, it's my fault, as I said, and it was both terribly maudlin and funny and truly sad, as these things can be. She's filed it away, somewhere in her brain, and doesn't mention it, but I know it'll come up again, just like every correct word about every body part, somewhere in the middle of Target or in the grocery store while some other person is listening and either laughs or goes into shock. Like the time she told me in Target that she loved two very specific parts of her anatomy, which will remain nameless here. Or like the time she picked up the plastic sword for her Halloween costume and started discussing cutting off peoples' heads. I can only repeat that it's not my fault. Kind of.
Endings are so weird. I don't know how to make them work myself, and that's that. I don't want her to have people ever leave her. They shouldn't. She's tremendously amazing, and everyone should stay alive and present until she's no longer interested. That's my feeling. I feel extremely supersitious even mentioning it.