My hand wrapped in hers. I curled up beside her, in the fetal position my body pressed as close to hers as I can get without disturbing the calm. My head resting on her rolled up housecoat. The sun reflects off the water, streaming into the room. The temperature rising in the tiny white space, my neck sticky with sweat. My hair damp with perspiration but she still has five blankets on her tiny frail body.
She is dying. Cancer. And my heart breaks.
My grandma, the woman who taught me the love of creating. The woman who patiently sat with me and tried to pass on her craft, her creativity. With much fail, I never really seemed to grasp drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, quilting, or any of the other marvelous skills she tried to teach me. All those lesson, all those Saturday mornings spent at her kitchen table are painted in my subconscious. They are there to stay, because I was taught something greater then how to hold my pencil, or how to see the lines, or how to hold the brush. I learned more from her then she ever knew. She showed me that the world needs beauty. That the world is full of art that needs to be created. That it is never to late to be, to do, and to create what you love.
She made me want to create art, even with my limited skill set. Everyday. To show the beautiful existence of our short life.
I watched her fill her life with art, I grew up watching this beautiful woman become her true self. Becoming exactly who she wanted to be, exactly who she was meant to be. She spoke her mind, she did what she wanted and she made no apologies for who she was. And if I become an ounce as incredible and strong willed as her, I will feel truly blessed to have inherited her beauty.
And now cancer is ravishing her body, but she maintains her beauty. Because I cannot be taken. There is too much there.
So with a lump in my throat I hold back tears, as I know she will scold me for crying. Because she told me not be be sad. Because she told me she wants to see ‘daddy’ and that he waits for her.
I curl up beside her and hold her hand. I imagine we are back in her home (the home I now live in), with her flower wallpapered bedroom that smells like ‘Oscar de la renta’ perfume. I pretend I am curled up beside her, as we listen to grandpa shuffling around in his room. I pretend I am 10 and we getting to spend the day together. I feel child-like again, in the wonder of my beautiful grandma. I close my eyes and fall asleep beside her, synchronizing my breath to hers. I am doing right by her, and finding some beauty in the darkness of this time.