The Visit

November 18, 2016

Letter from me sent to the Grahams while traveling by trailer, letter courtesy of the Grahams

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2016

Eventually on the last hour of 7:00 am, I decided to have some control of my life and get up, take my shower and get ready for work. I finished by 7:30 am. I couldn’t take the stuffing of feelings anymore and I headed upstairs to my mother in her bedroom. I tried to hold off. I wasn’t quite sure if she was awake yet, but I could hear the TV. I walked in and told her about the breakup. Every emotion, fear and feeling of loss about everything I knew and loved flowed out of me in tears and uncontrollable breaths. I wanted to know why? Why now? What had I done to deserve to get my heart ripped out of me twice, knowing that my grandmother was transitioning? I thought he loved me and liked me, what happened? I told my mom that I was so afraid that I was going to die alone. I can only remember my mom telling me to calm down and take a deep breath. At the time I was inconsolable. Every horrible thought and wonderful memory crashed against each other. My mother said that she didn’t want me to drive in this state. I couldn’t go to work. There was no way I could. Even my body would not have allowed me to. After my mother did her best to get me to calm down, she tried to get me to eat or have some coffee. I refused at first. Not too much later, I joined her downstairs but I wasn’t quite ready. This was going to be impossible. I tried to drink the coffee but all I could see was his face sitting across from me at this very table, where he would often sit when he would visit. He is already haunting me. Somehow I managed to get back upstairs and laid down in the guest bedroom. As I did my best to simply breath, the air was blowing in from the windows. I wanted to go to sleep desperately, do whatever I could to make this all disappear. It didn’t work. I cried and hurt and reflected; no sleeping, I was only staring out of the window.

 

Time crept on without me and it was almost time for my mother to head over to see my grandparents. I decided I was going to tag along. The doctor was coming today and my aunt and cousin would be there soon from Georgia on route to return him to college. My other aunt was to be there too, to see her sister, nephew and the doctor. At this point, we all want to hear directly from the medical professionals on the status of my grandmother’s health. The car ride was like floating on a big cloud. Unapologetically, I decided to have a drink of Makers Mark on a very empty stomach. I can only remember my arms feeling like they were glued to my side and that the traffic was unforgivable. I realized, as we got closer to the house, it was imperative that I got myself somewhat together. I also asked my mother to please not tell anyone about the breakup; I wouldn’t be able to manage all the questions. The visit to see my grandmother was upsetting enough.

 

When we got there, we were the first of the group to arrive. My grandfather was in the driveway talking to his friend that gives him a ride, now that he doesn’t drive (as of a few months ago). It didn’t take long for everyone else to show up. My grandparent’s bedroom swirled with action. The daughters were talking by my grandmother’s bedside. I figured if nothing else, my sadness for my grandmother’s condition was more than enough of a cover for how I felt from the breakup. My cousin and I eventually left the room. It was too much to take in. He is part of the second set of grandchildren; the children of my youngest aunt. I wanted to have a candid conversation with him about his return to college. I understood that his first year had been bumpy and I wanted to assure him that this year will be different and he has nothing but a bright future ahead. While we were having this heart to heart, for some reason, I told him about the breakup. It slipped out. He was very supportive and I really appreciated it, but I didn’t want him to worry about me; I am the older cousin. We all have enough worry to go around.

 

As we were chatting, the doctor arrived. We are both Carla’s. They were all in there for a while and I think neither my cousin nor I wanted to hear anything that was going on in the bedroom. My mother came out of the bedroom and joined us. The doctor’s presence was more of a necessity for my aunts and grandfather. Working as an operating room tech and nurse for over 30 years, had given my mother the upper hand on understanding what was physically happening with my grandmother. By the time it was all said and done, the doctor went into the kitchen with my grandfather separately, to have a one on one talk. Perhaps this was to discuss her bill or to make sure that he really understood what was happening without the eyes and ears of his children. When the doctor parted, I was touched when she gave my grandfather a hug and a kiss. It reminded me that she has been around for years taking care of my grandmother on house visits and probably feels our sadness. I asked my mother later what the doctor said after the examination. In short, she said that she has no crystal ball. It could be a week or month. She has no idea. Frances still has a strong heartbeat and clear sounding lungs.

 

It was time to head back home. Between my mother already having told my father about the breakup and a discussion I had with my cousin about pizza that put it on my mind, that was the plan for dinner. It is not a miracle worker, but it always gives me some pleasure, if only for a meal. I tried to get myself together and get ready for the night ahead. I told my oldest and dearest friend everything when she happened to text me in the evening. She could probably sense something all the way in Chicago. It was not without tears and another sleepless night.

 

 

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Copyright © 2014 Carla Joelle Brown All Rights Reserved.

Sponsorship provided by:

The Rubys Artist Project Grants were conceived and initiated with start-up funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and are a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

 

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