My grandmother died when I was 14 years old.
It was the spring of 1997 and she had suffered from colon cancer and lost her battle.
She was my mom’s mom, and she was the grandparent I felt closest to. Before she got sick, she was delightfully squishy and smelled like mothballs, cheap lipstick, and brown sugar. I can still hear her voice in my head (that warm, Midwestern accent where the vowels go on for miles), and sometimes, her voice comes out of my own mouth when I least expect it. Usually when I am giddy and happy.
She was the first person I’d known to pass away, the first funeral I’d been to.
Her casket was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was this robin egg blue that was sparkly and gleaming. Her body rested on this baby blue satin that looked so smooth and shiny and comfortable.
I remember wanting to get out my camera and take a picture of it before it was covered by earth forever, but instinctively I knew that people might not like that, so I didn’t.
Looking back, I kinda wished I had. I like being able to remember all things – the good and the sad.
I still remember, even without that picture.
I first wrote the above post on April 1, 2013. I never posted it, until now. Not quite sure why…maybe because it’s about death? Maybe for the same reason I didn’t take that picture?
And now, all these years later, my daughter’s middle name is hers. My grandma’s. They are both feisty and warm and gooey and delicious. They both smell like brown sugar (among other things). I love them and they are mine.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but it would never be able to capture all that.
Note: Today I tried a writing exercise where you use a photo prompt and write a short story as close to 100 words as possible. It will become immediately obvious that I used the photo as very loose inspiration. Enjoy.
They had been at it all day and had only gotten a few bites.
Henry reeled in his line to check the hook. As he suspected, the bait had been nibbled away. Swearing under his breath, he reached into the jar for another wriggling nightcrawler.
“Maybe we need to try somewhere else?” Sarah suggested, but floated it as a hesitant question. She came on these trips more for the peace and quiet, but now Henry’s darkening mood was beginning to scare her.
“We’ve already tried all the damn coves in this fucking place,” Henry grumbled.
Suddenly the boat felt dangerously small as he put down his pole and yanked hard on the motor’s pull chord.
I need writing ideas!! What should I write about? Winning pitches get a cookie.
Last Thursday, Brian and I got to have a mini wedding redo, and it was pretty amazing.
But first – a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to everyone who read my Freshly Pressed post, new followers (henceforth called Psychos), and especially everyone who left a supportive comment. It really meant a lot to know that I wasn’t alone in my post-wedding grief.
During our wedding, as soon as my photographer realized how sick I was, she told me not to worry, that we would come back and take pictures at some later date, and I am so thankful she told me that right away, because then I could focus on just getting through the wedding knowing we’d (Brian and I) have a bit of a second chance.
I took a few hours off work so that I could get myself all pretty and ready for the photo shoot. Soon after the wedding, I had chopped all my hair off, and it was fun for me to play around with my new ‘do and get all dolled up.
I pinned the same ivory lace that had been in my hair for the wedding up under my curls so that it peeked out. I wore the same pearl earrings my parents gave me for Christmas. I affixed the same fake eyelashes, with some difficulty and perhaps a few swear words.
I was worried about how I would feel once I got my dress back on. First of all, I was a tiny bit worried that my dress wouldn’t zip – it was tight to begin with and I didn’t hold back on those cruise buffets and dessert menus – but mostly I was worried that I would just burst into tears and cry my eyelashes off.
The whole process of getting ready was actually very sweet. Brian and I didn’t see each other on our wedding day until I was actually walking down the aisle, and for this redo we got to be with each other and help each other get ready. Brian had to help me step into my dress and hook me up in the back, and while this was the reverse of what our wedding night should have been, I enjoyed the experience.
And don’t worry, cuz the dress fit just fine, and I didn’t burst into tears. I was actually…excited. I was happy to get to wear my dress again, I was happy to get my picture taken again, and I was so relieved that it was just going to be us. No family, no vendors, no pressure, no distractions.
We drove back out into the country to the wedding venue, and we commented on how much we love those surroundings, and how freaking beautiful our wedding venue is. My dress was stuffed into the car all around me, and we had the AC blasting up my skirt. It was like sitting on a fluffy, scratchy, but beautiful cloud.
We had a lot of fun during the quick photo shoot. We got driven to the hilltop in a red convertible Cadillac and had our picture taken under the oak tree as the sun grazed the top of the surrounding hills. We brought ice cream and sprinkles in a cooler and had the photographer get shots of us feeding each other ice cream. We were just going to dance to our first dance song playing on my iphone when a staff person offered to plug it into their sound system. As soon as “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones came on, tears filled my eyes. Those few moments we twirled around in circles really meant a lot to me, and to Brian. That song was the first song to which we ever danced, back on our 3rd date 10 years ago.
After the shoot was finished, we decided to continue our mini celebration and we went out for drinks in a local restaurant. Between the car and the restaurant, we heard no fewer than 10 cries of “Congratulations!” yelled from cars, passers by, and other diners. That recognition and joy made me feel so good. It reminded me how captivated I am by weddings in general, that I can’t help but stop and stare when I see two people starting the rest of their lives with such love, joy, and hope for the future. I wonder if these people felt the same way towards us?
We ordered our drinks and sat down outside near the live band that was playing, and we just chatted and took in the scenery, beaming at each other like…two kids in love with alcohol in their systems.
The band was awesome, by the way. They played some current covers, and some originals, and they played all the music to Super Mario Bros on electric guitar. FTW. And then I heard the beginnings of “At Last,” and the lead singer said, “This one’s for you two” looking straight at us. We did what any normal, intoxicated, in-love couple would do and we got up and danced. It was so lovely, I can’t even describe it. I do remember whispering to Brian, “This is what therapists call a corrective experience!” and he laughed because I am a huge nerd…and he’s stuck with me now.
After a while, we got up to leave – it was a school night, after all – and after we made our way between all the tables, applause broke out amongst most of the restaurant-goers. I broke into a smile and gave a curtsy before we left and headed to the car.
I am very, very thankful we got to have that little redo. It did wonders for my mood and how I feel about the wedding overall. It gave me some closure and now we get to move on to much more important and happier things.
My photographer said that the 40s could be summed up with an “Oh, my!” and a skirt twirl.
…we’ll see if that comes through in the photos.
Basically, I was born in the wrong decade. My hips belong in the 40s and 50s and my feminist brain belongs in the 60s and 70s. And I think I lost my ovary in the Great War.
This is like the best picture ever. Brian’s inner child was squealing with joy like a greased pig who just outran Christmas dinner. That, and he looks damn sexy. Coolest part: there was no wind while this pic was taken. Whaaaat.
I look forward to the professional images, because if we look this amazing on my iphone, we’re going to look like frickin old movie stars and shit.
Best part for me: I think I ended up looking a lot like my grandma. Must unearth a picture of her for comparison.
Don’t forget, Psychos! Send me emails to tell me how you’re gonna turn my online wedding to Shirtless Ryan Gosling into a drunken love circus! I *just* found out he’s Canadian – what the what?! I didn’t know they made beefcakes that beefy. Deadline is March 31st.
I have zero energy today, and so this post isn’t really a post. It’s a nonpost, an anti-post, if you will (will you?). But I wanna post something, because I haven’t posted in a while. So here’s a post. Or not.
Brian and I are getting ready for another photo shoot this weekend – if the weather holds up, that is. I am sooper excited because it involves Brian flying us around in an airplane, me getting to be a ham in front of a camera, aaaaaaand dressing up. Like, in a costume.
We went and got said costumes last weekend and had a ton of fun trying them on, and I also did a trial run with my hairdo.
That’s right, bitches. This is gonna be rockin’.
Also, consider this a reminder for all y’all who want to be a part of the online wedding action to be had this spring and summer: I NEEDS THE EMAILS! Please email me a little description of how you’re gonna wow and amaze me performing your chosen role in my online wedding to Shirtless Ryan Gosling. Deadline is March 31st. I think. psychobabblepants at gmail dot com.
Also also, I am working on a real post. A funny one. When my body decides it no longer despises energy, I’ll throw it on up here. Bible.