Goodbye, Gloria. Rest in Peace.

My grandmother passed away last night.

It seems like the kind of thing you should say at the start of an article like this.

I had already made a mental sketch of what I was going to say today, but that seems to have gone by the wayside now. For those of you curious, NaNo is still going well for me, and I expect to cross the finish line this year. If anything, writing is a welcome distraction at this point.

In the days ahead, I’m hoping to dive in and disappear and let the world around me dissolve into whatever hell it chooses. I’d like to believe that I can make an active choice not to think about things that I know are going to be unpleasant, but that’s not going to happen. When I don’t talk, my characters do, and this will undoubtedly come up in a chapter or a story soon.

My grandmother and I were estranged and had been for some years now. I still love her, but the separation, when it occurred, was ugly and sudden and left me adrift in the world for longer than I care to admit.

After years of trying to put my head back together, I felt like I’d finally managed some semblance of peace about the whole situation. Geography helped too. Whenever possible, I have sought to increase the distance between my own house and those of my family, and while that might sound like running to you, it was also an act of self-preservation.

Serenity is easier to find in selective isolation.

But despite these efforts, very few days have gone by when I haven’t thought of that side of my family. I do my best to keep these memories cloudy, especially those that evoke the most intense feelings of loss, but occasionally a moment of absolute clarity breaks through, and I am heartbroken all over again.

Sunday was one of those days.

I found out last month that my grandmother was sick. I knew it was serious; I knew it would be fatal. But I had no idea how I felt about it.

I still don’t.

The words I had were inadequate for the things I was feeling, and I wondered if human language itself is limited, incapable of truly explaining the mixture of things that swirl through our hearts.

In the end though, it’s all we have, so we do our best and hope that the things we say and write and sing will resonate with kindred souls. That those who have been here before us will recognize our pain, and that this recognition will allow us to feel understood and perhaps pitied.

I have found that we walk this world alone, but we are only as lonely as we allow ourselves to be. I will try hard to remember this in the weeks to come, but I know that I will not always succeed.

A few weeks back, my wife asked me if I wanted to see my grandmother before she died. I told her I didn’t know. I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do or what I would do. My own heart was a mystery to me.

But I now know what I did do: nothing.

Whether this will become a source of regret later on down the line, I cannot say. But what’s done is done and can’t be undone.

Perhaps the most hateful truth about dying is that the world continues on without us, even if we so desperately wish it wouldn’t.

My grandmother’s life has ended, and she has gone on to whatever comes next. Though we were divided in the end, I wished her no ill will. I hope that in her last days she found peace and felt the love of those whom I know were keeping vigil.

If messages could travel beyond the veil, mine would be a simple one:

Dear Gloria: I still love you.

Rest in peace.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

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