May 23, 2010
By , lalaland, UT
“Marie? Marie? Dear Marie,” Grandma Laurel called to me, shakily. She was very ill, in the throws of death. I’d come to visit her in the hospital. My name wasn’t Marie. My name was Anna. People often said that with our identical hair and skin tone, as well as jaw line and nose structure, that I was like my mother’s twin. Grandma Laurel was the first to think I was her. I blinked back tears, and nodded smiling.

“Hey Laurel,” I greeted her, knowing it would be easier just to play along, and that it would distress her much less. She looked me over, and reached out for me, her bony arms, covered in age spots and pallid from lack of sun, were quivering from the effort extending them toward me took. I gave her a gentle hug.

“I’m so glad you and Daniel are together, dear. You’ve always been my favorite one of his girls,” She said, smiling and shaking her head. I uncomfortably nodded, and tried not to cry. Grandma Laurel had become so…senile. My father, Daniel, and my mother, Marie, had divorced years and years ago, when I was only a baby. Now I was twenty two and about to graduate from college as a nurse.

“Marie, I know that you’re still so young, and that I’m just an old kook,” Grandma said jokingly, and I choked back a sob, nodding, and ignoring the fact that it was clearly true, she was indeed a ‘kook’, “But, I believe one day, when he gets around to it,” She rolled her eyes and laughed, “Oh, men. My Daniel will propose to you one day. I really think so. And I just…I would hope you two have children. I would like to ask you, as a dying, kooky old lady…would you please make sure your daughters and sons know how much I would have loved them?” She asked, her bright eyes, blue eyes, staring desperately into mine. We had the same eyes. They were the only thing that made me different than my mother. The tears I’d been holding back leaked around the edges of my eyes.

“Yes, Laurel, I will, I promise,” I said, and she smiled, lying back, and closing her eyes. She fell asleep, deep asleep, and I left silently, giving her a small kiss on the forehead and leaving the bouquet of daisies I’d gotten for her on her bedside table. Daisies were her favorite. She’d planted so many daisies in her garden. She lost the garden when we had to sell her house.

Being an only child, I was the only one who needed to know about the conversation I’d had with my Grandma. She was the first person I had even known to die. She’d been sick for a long time, slowly losing her elderly mind in the all too sterile world of a hospital.

When my parents divorced, I’d spent many nights at my Grandma’s house. We would watch movies, she taught me to knit, she’d help me with homework, and share books with me. She told me stories about my Dad and my aunts and uncles, and how my parents met, and about my grandfather, and about her and her childhood. She’d become one of my best friends in a way. It seemed impossible that she could even die. Impossible for her to be ill. She couldn’t be so ill. Weren’t Grandparents supposed to be immortal? No. They weren’t of course, but they should be. A child has a peculiar love for their grandparents. A parent will discipline and scold you and may or may not spoil you, but a grandparent will spoil and play and joke with you in a way not all parents do.

The day came quickly, too quickly, as it always does. Her funeral was on a strangely sunny day, without any clouds or rain, as one typically imagines a funeral to have. It almost seemed too bright and too nice outside. The weather was too pleasant for a day where the world lost such a sweet little old lady.

I made sure to find the biggest bouquet of daisies and put it on her grave.

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