A Letter

My Dear Grandma,

I started writing this letter to you last night, hoping I’d be able to send it today and you’d be able to read it. Even though I know now that you won’t, I want to finish it anyway. Because I love you and because I miss you already, even though you’ve only been gone a few hours.

Thursday is your 90th birthday. We planned to drive down this coming weekend to celebrate with you but now I’m not sure what will happen. I don’t know when we’ll bury your body or even where it’ll happen, but I probably won’t be ready to say goodbye. I don’t know that anyone really ever is, even when you know that saying goodbye means no more pain or sickness.

For the past hour I’ve been alternating between crying and feeling numb, which is what I did last night after I found out that you never left the hospital after your pneumonia cleared up. Keith carefully explained the complications you had and I sat nodding at my phone, not because he could see me but because I knew that these things meant we were at The End. It’s such a horrible thought, “The End,” until you realize that there’s more for us. That there’s hope.

You raised two intelligent, ridiculously competitive sons who grew up to have amazing careers as a doctor and as a lawyer. There are four of us grandchildren who will miss you incredibly and four great-grandchildren who will grow up seeing pictures of you and listening to our memories of time spent with you. We’ll tell them how you taught us how to make monkey bread at Thanksgiving and how to play Pinochle. About carefully exploring the treasures in your room upstairs and eating cherries in the bomb shelter when we visited you in New Jersey and about coloring refrigerator boxes and pretending closets were elevators in your Florida home. And we’ll continue the traditions of playing Jeopardy competitively and using children to cheat at card games by bribing them with sweets, both things that you and Grandpa did for decades with us.

I love you and miss you already.