Tonight my mom said, “I really miss my mom.” When I get stuck inside of my head, responses like, “I do too,” become unnecessary to me, yet so very necessary for conversation and community, for family.
It’s hard to write that it’s not the same without my grandmother, it’s really not. Writing about it somehow still feels like I’m still inside of my head with no audience or empathy, yet still doesn’t come easy.
Last winter my mother and I went to the ranch as soon as she got out of classes, in early December. Mom helped her mom put up her Christmas tree, I brought firewood in to her box. In the relationship my grandmother and I had built, we spent a lot of our time reminiscing, looking through old photographs. When I asked her if I could have a used pencil and scissors of hers from 70 years ago she looked at me and laughed the way she always did when she couldn’t understand what I was up to. I think she got used to the idea that she was incredibly frugal or thrifty with some particular things; I think older generations get used to the idea that some of us young kids scoff at them for using the back of mail letters as scrap paper, how silly we sometimes are. I told her I used the old tools for photographs with my poems, and showed her my book of poems I had written with my old gothic script and pressed flowers glued into it.
Omi pressed flowers too, so does my mom. I was recently reading Hermann Hesse’s Autobiographical Writings that I had taken from her, and I’d come to pages with stamps or flowers pressed inside. Sometimes I find little notes, scraps of paper..
Winter can get cold up there at the Ranch. I can only imagine how modern technology has made it at least somewhat bearable. I can’t imagine using an outhouse in -30 deg C, let alone what was used for toilet paper. Even with the cold, my grandmother was a firm believer in fresh air. Even just sitting and getting a few rays of sunshine on her face would make her feel like she had got her bit for the day.
She was always incredibly insistent on going for a walk, even in the bloody ice. I’d be slipping and sliding around and there she was, sure as she could be, with her spikes on her boots making her way about. She was a walker. I guess that’s where I got it.