My castle of memories .

January 7, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The sunlight fell on the coffin,streaming in through the old stained glass windows of the church. It cast shadows on our friends and family's faces. The voices and sorrow were muted by the memories of my grandpa: the way he twirled me around when I was little....the way he held me when I had a nightmare. I looked around the church. A cloud passed over the sun causing the church to plummet into the darkness. The only light was cast from the candles glowing while shadows danced on the walls of the now Gothic looking church. I was brought back by the sounds of my grandma's sobs. I held her tight, she was all I had left, and I was all she had left.
The cloud passed and the church soared into the light, The shadows on my family's' faces were clones of 15 years ago when my parents died. This scene was all too familiar; the scene of the crash played back in my mind over and over again like a never ending movie. The hurt of missing my mom and dad mixed with the pain of my grand father's death was a crippling stew of anguish. Tears welled up in my eyes, threatening to fall. Not now,not here, I had to be strong. I always needed to be strong,show no emotion, just how my dad taught me. I don't know why but I always feel like I had to be the perfect marine's daughter. I needed to stop thinking about them. They were gone and weren't coming back. Just like when they were alive. They had been mostly absent in my life, only there when they were on leave from the Marines and then only for a week or two.
I looked around, towards the open coffin. He looked so..fake,stiff,his eyes closed. I pictured the twinkling blue eyes behind the doll-like eyelids. His hands were placed over this chest like a pharaoh from Egypt. He deserved it,he was a king, more then a king, my guardian angle.

People started to walk towards the coffin ,laying delicate roses, Lillie's and carnations gently around my grandfather. I noticed the the sweet smell of the Lillie's wafting though the church. It smelled like his garden, the sweet romantic sent filled my head, I pictured me and my grandpa playing hide and seek in between the bushes and beautiful flowers.
It was my turn, I didn't move from the pew. I couldn't, I had too much to say. People started to leave . The hot July air poured into the cool old church. When every one was gone I went up to the coffin, I put my hand on his, he was cold and lifeless. Then it all came out, the tears, the pain, the loneliness and the unbelievable recognition that he was gone. I stood there crying, saying how much I needed him, telling his lifeless body all the memories I loved so much . All the things I had taken for granted, small things I cherished now. Opening up a box with a butterfly ring.Listning to his soothing voice read from Charolets web. I knew he couldn't hear me and never would , but I kept talking when my tears turned into sobs. i felt a hand on my shoulder ,her hand, the soft warm,worn,weathered,washed with to much love hand full of kindness. She pulled me to her.

"It;s okay to cry Honey, you don't always have to be strong".
She held me as my sobs turned hysterical. She smoothed my hair and cried too.

I remembered all that while I walked up the stone side walk to her house, To my side was the flower garden that I had so many amazing memories in. I knocked on the door. She opened ,she looked older,frail.,tired and dazed. It made me sad to think that I was losing her as well. I had lost to many people in the last year. I didn't want to loose her too. She had done way to much for me when I was young. She had gone to one to many plays, to so many concerts .

I walked in to the once beautiful,clean,.sunny home,I looked around , it was dirtier then before, dust on almost everything, grime on the windows, a pile of laundry lay at the foot of the stairs. She went into the kitchen to make some tea. Pots clattered cupboards banged shut. Then it happened. I heard a thunk. I ran in , and there she lay,looking up at me .she looked lost and confused. I helped her up and sat her down on the couch. I went back into the kitchen and I went through all the cupboards.Nothing, she had no food. A picture of my grandfather of the wall had fallen to the ground glass every where. It wasn't safe for her to be here alone. I walked back into the kitchen to say that there was no tea. But I stopped at the door. I looked at the poor woman sitting on the couch staring a a picture of my grandfather, A tear rolled down her withered cheek. I was suprized that she remembered him, she had forgotten so much ,she forgot me some times... . She didn't talk much theses days. She was depressed, she needed to be some where, where i didn't always have to be the only person that talked to her. I kissed her forehead and left the decrepit house. I walked back through the jungle of forgotten memories. Under the cold shadow of a weeping willow and to my car. My chariot waiting to take me away from the jungle and her. As the buildings passed fast and time pasted slow, I began to think of my options of what I could do with her. It flashed by almost not catching my eye . My heart pounded, I had found the solution to my dilemma. I turned the car around and drove back to the sign. I turned down the road and drove for quite a while through the back roads of rural Savannah Georgia. I wondered how far it would be to this place. The last sign pointed to the left down a dusty dirt road that went on for miles. 15 minutes later I was standing out side of Sunny-side Nursing home. I walked in wondering if this was the best choice. But I knew it was when I say the welcoming yellow walls of the lobby, the whole back wall was all windows looking out over the Atlantic ocean. It was beautiful. A lady in a Sunny Side tee-Shirt came over.
"Can I help you Madam?" She asked in a heavy southern accent
"Where can I sign some one up for this place?"
I said not totally sure how to approach the subject or how to tell her I wanted to have her move in.
"Right over here Honey, Can I get you any thing?" She asked as she pointed to an office.
"No I'm good , Thank you though.."
30 minutes later I was signing papers and taking a tour of the wonderful nursing home. I thanked the guide and drove back to the jungle of forgotten memories. She was sitting on the porch, she looked up and smiled at me, her frail body sat in an old wicker rocking chair, slowly rocking . It was haunting to look at, the woman who was once my care giver, my everything,my savior, was now withering away. And I'd become her care giver,her guardian angle. I sat next to her on the porch floor, it creaked and moaned as I walked to her side.
"I found a good place for you. where you can't get hurt any more, or starve, and you don't have to remember things now. There will always be someone with you. It's beautiful there, and there are people like you, it looks over the Atlantic Ocean and there's a beach, with golden grassy meadows all around it . And a flower garden like Grandpa's. And the best thing about it is that its sunny and you can smell the sea when the breeze blows. You're going to love it there."
She just kept looking out at the jungle of old things and over grown plants, at all the memories of my childhood hidden in the tangle of weeds and trash.
It took a long exhausting week to pack up the things she wanted to take from the house. It was emotionally draining and physically tiring. It was depressing to see her fondle forgotten memories that she no longer remembered. I packed up my car with the few things she still wanted in her life, and remembered. She took a few old pictures of my Grandpa but I don't know if she remembers him. A few quilts she had made and a picture I had drawn her when I was about 5 years old. I didn't want to see her like this. It broke my heart to see her standing alone in the yard staring at the decrepit house,the white paint peeling off and willow tree moaning in the summer breeze. it was am eerie sight to behold. I walked to her and took her frail wrinkled hand and led her to the car. She looked at me confused wondering where we were going. We drove and passed fields,forests,towns ,she showed no emotion, she just sat there taking it all in. We drove down the long dirt road dust kicking up all around the car . I could see the Nursing Home,planted in the middle of the open ocean and the trapping inland. I wished I could just be in the ocean,floating with no care in the world. But I couldn't I had to take care of her. Like she did for me. I pulled into the parking lot and opened her door. She got out looking all around her, And she smiled. I walked her up to the building its white ,yellow and blue trim was inviting and beautiful, i think she liked how the Victorian style house looked. We walked in and they showed us to her new room. It over looked the ocean and beach,the breeze blew in filling the room with and wonderful smell. The room was a light yellow with a sailor decor. I put down the things and went to her, "Do you like it? It's beautiful" she didn't answer but I think she liked it. I kissed her head and walked out of the room stopping at the door. "You will be happy here. ill come when I can" Smiled and tears came to my eyes as I walked to the car. I sat in the car wondering if this was really what I should be doing or if I should be having her live with me. I drove back to the house the uhul was already there waiting to take the rest of the stuff to the storage garage. I walked In and looked around wondering what to do first. The old house was filthy so i might want to clean it first. Or do I want to move the furniture first..Ill move the furniture and then clean.
After 7 hours of cleaning and moving furniture I Went to the attic and opened the door. I couldn't believe how much stuff this house held . I started up the stairs and breathed in the musky smell of old painting and furniture. Light begged to get in through a grimy old window and cast a dim light on everything ,dust floated in the air making me cough. I reminisced about how when i was younger I use to play in the attic with my dolls creating my own world with no worries and full of childish play. I looked around the subdued room with all it's shadows, I remembered it as a sunny clean warm room with the late afternoon sunlight streaming in through the old window. I dragged a box over to where there was a faint wisp of light coming in through the window. I pulled it open and took out something soft,fluffy,some thing lost in the chaos of growing up and moving on. I pulled out an old teddy bear,My old teddy bear,the fuzz still fuzzy,his eyes still black and shiny. I hugged him and inhaled the sent trapped in him,roses,Brownies,summer breezes out side at a tea party. It brought back so many memories of those nights that I had snuggled with him when I was a small child. I put him aside and pulled out more toys, I grabbed a sharpie and wrote"Toys" On the box and pushed it to the side,and grabbed another box,opened it and pulled out old table cloths,labeled it and pushed it aside. I went one like that for 3 hours until I found it behind a stack of boxes,the painting,beautiful,majestic and hauntingly insisting. I pulled it towards the fading evening light and looked at him. He looked amazing,young ,black hair ,peircig but twinkling blue eyes penetration into me. He was beautiful, i looked at the back wondering who it was, and there i saw his name, It was my grandpa when he was younger. I moved took it town stairs with the rest of the boxes in the attic. I wrapped it up and packed up the rest of the boxes into the Uhul truck . I went back into the house the late eving light dribbled into the house and casting long shadows on the dusty floor boards. I looked around the empty house and visualized it 15 years ago ,me running around with messy make up, in sun dresses and holding my teddy bear. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I walked from room to room a movie of memories of each room played in my head. I walked into the kitchen and smelled an apple pie backing,fresh lemons and flowers. I walked out of the old house ,down the stone path way through the jungle of past memories. I looked around the light almost gone and shadows everywhere. I whipped my tears straightened and walked out he gate and to the uhul .

I drove up to Sunny Side the next day to see my Grandma, I read to her from her favorite book ,and we walked on the beach. When we got back to the room she picked up a picture of my grand pa and started to cry, I then realized she did remember him and did miss him, And most of the painting and pictures were either faded or beat up and pealing, Then i got the Idea, I would paint a new painting for her. I held her and cried as well .

That night I bough painting suplize and canvas, I sat looking through pictures of Grandpa and through Paintings, I found one of him in Paris, maybe this one? But a small one caught my eye, It was of my grandparents on there wedding day. I knew she would love it so I started painting . At 3am I was to tired to finish the back round and I went to bed. For the next couple of days my day consisted of work ,going to Sunny Side,and painting till the early hours of the morning. When the picture was finaly done I looked at it and looked at the photograph, it was amazingly similar, but just larger. I packed it up and put it in the car and drove over to Sunny Side after work.

At Sunny Side I walked up the stairs with my painting , I opened her door to see her sitting in a chair looking at the ocean. I walked over and said
'I have something for you grandma"
she looked up at me with a faint smile, I unwrapped the painting and showed it to her. She stared at it tears welling in her old eyes, she reached out to it running a wrinkled hand over the painting.
"I painted it for you Grandma" I said a few tears escaped my eyes. What she did next suprized me .She got up and hugged me, i hugged her back never wanting to let the woman go.

After a while of looking at the painting ,hugging and crying I had to go home.

For the next couple of days I couldn't get over to Sunny Side ,on the 5th day I got a call from a nurse at Sunny Side.
"Your grandmother is extremely ill , were giving her about a week to sorry"
"What....With what?" I asked puzzled
"Her heart isn't working right and is slowing down" the nurse said
"I see, Ill be over soon ..thank you" I said chocking back tears.

I got in the car fighting tears and raced over to Sunny Side. When I opened the door to her room, nurse's were in the room, standing around the bed ,working micheans and writing up papers. I asked if I could have a moment with her alone They hesitated but left the room, and I walked over to her bedside. I put my hand on her wrinkled withered hand. She looked up at me ,her face had a gray tent to it, her eyes looked glazed over, she was breathing shallow and irregular. I started crying telling her I couldn't loose her too. i had lost to many people, she was all I had left. I didn't want her to go, I needed her to much and that I loved her.
Her breathing became slower and slower, the beeping got slower and slower. I started crying hystarically, i held her hand not wanting her to go, begging her to stay with me
She looked up at me for the final timeher hazle eyes closing,then the beeping deadlined and the room was silent except for my sobs and the breeze tugging at the curtains. I couldn't belive that she was gone. The nurses came in and I screamed at them asking why they didnt save her why they didnt do some thing to help her.They tried to calm me but they couldn't ,no one could, and nothing except her could calm me. I ran rom the room crying down the stair through the lobby and down the andy trail to the beach. I ran into the water crying, i went to my waist and let the water sooth me,dance around me comferting me. My dress floated around me the sea foam swirled aorund me. I went under,the calm quiet of the under water calmed me, i though about not ever coming back up for air, but my lungs started to burn and I had to get air. I busted from the surface grasping for air and went back down hugging my knees to my chest and floating and moving with the tide. I surfaced and gulped in air i looked around me,all ocean ans sand ,i walked out of the water and I went to the car, i drove home.

A few days days later I got a call from my grandmothers lawyer saying that a few days before she died , she changed her will So in stead of her nephew getting her enharitence I got everything. I got the house ,and everything in it. well, everything that WAS in it.

1 year later I was living in my childhood house starting my own family,it had been cleaned and repainted to look exactly like it use too, the jungle of forgotten memories was weeded and mowed, and now was a grassy and green, and my grandfathers flower garden was restored .I watched my own little girl waddle around with my old teddy bear in the grass like I use too, The weeping willow branches swaying in the breeze and It pushed the smell of an apple pie out of the house to my nose. I was home, always would be In my castle of memories.

Join the Discussion

This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

Dubella456 said...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm
I loved it a lot. Just two suggestions. One, proof read your work. Two, there were a lot of grammatical errors, I copied and pasted it Microsoft and I was there for like 10 minutes correcting it. 
ArtLover17 replied...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm
I also had put it through spell check, and they didnt catch them, sorry
Dubella456 replied...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm
No problem
hall said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm
it was sad and sarrow
unknown said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm
this was Beautiful and it touch my soul
boss said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

That was super vivid and it is discriptive.Do not stop what ever you do. Thank you drew


jack said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm
That was very emotional and rang true is several ways.It was well writen and the details were vivid.I liked the feelings you distribed.It was a pleasure to read and flowed well. Thank you and keep up the good work. 
collin M said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm
good job emma this is amazing.. you used great details. keep wrtiting your reall good.
Tracie:) said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm
this was amazing emma, you used such great details on it, i almost started crying when i read your story, it was very deep, good job emma :)
ArtLover17 replied...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm
Thanks so much, it means alot.
Site Feedback