There are many times in life when words fail us. Often we don't know how to react when the consonants that so concretely define thought and reason escape, their forms elipsing through the veil of smoke shrouding our literate tongues and dispersing into an indigo sky unseen. For someone who holds such things as words to be precious, indeed -- one of the most precious things, the loss of such faculties can be disarming at the very least.
I remember when you died peacefully. Your daughter is on her deathbed now, but she clings to life tightly, and her fingers are slowly being rubbed raw on the thick iron bar they so ardently clench. I remember your eyes as you slept one last time only to reawaken forever, eternally somewhere I hope is better than here.
I remember so much, the times you wished me well. The times you knew I was in trouble. You knew I was killing myself, but you lent me that silent smile and guided me until I could climb out by myself.
Marry well, you said. Make sure he loves you, make sure in a world of hate, of death, that he brings you life. Make sure that you simply be. I remember your words so well, each word you spoke. I can hear them tremble in my mind as they dare to vibrate with their prescient touch. Your face escapes me, but the picture I recall of when you were young haunts me still.
A young face -- a face come from another world and married to a man you barely knew. The face of a young lady growing into a woman. I had that face once, long ago.
Time is strange. It can erase memories, of course sometimes not the ones we want to keep. It can enhance others, reshape and reform them into something else entirely. But I still remember you, remember the love of life I learned. "Don't let the little things kick you in the knees."
And I think of you, as I watch your daughter. My grandmother -- she is like you. Strong and noble, and brave to the last, despite her pain and agony. She carries your wisdom on, as do I.
July 22, 1998