Hi. I’m still alive, although it’s been three weeks since my grandma died.
It was the week the rain started—the week that began the huge downpour that has flooded my basement and also my life. I knew better than to walk home in the rain (although that’s another story), so I borrowed a phone to call home.
Dad picked up. Dad has a nine to five job—it was two. I think that’s when I knew, but he didn’t say anything. Mom didn’t say anything when she picked me up, either. Maybe I’m wrong, I thought.
I put my stuff down, and that’s when Dad told me. “I’m home early, because Grandma Twila died this morning.”
“When?” I asked.
“Around ten this morning.”
I nodded, and kept putting my things away. “Okay.” Maybe it seems heartless, not to burst into tears, or to start crying, or anything—but for me, it felt like I had lost my grandma a long time ago, and this was just the end of a long time coming.
“Are you making grilled cheese sandwiches?” I asked, noticing the griddle.
“Yes. Do you want one?”
My mom does most of the cooking at my house, but you don’t say no to a grilled cheese sandwich from my dad. You just don’t. The bread was the crispy butter brown that Dad has seemed to master, complete with pepperoni, ham, and the gooey white goat cheese that knows my heart so well.
So we sat together, and ate grilled cheese sandwiches—I don’t remember what we were talking about, probably things to do (there are a lot of things to do when someone dies) or telling my sisters, but I remember that my friend Emma came up as I told my parents her story.
Last night, she was in her room and saw an enormous spider—and then she lost track of it. Like any sane person, she ran up to her parents’ room and said, “We need to burn my room down, there’s a spider!” (My parents laughed here.) Her mom, half-asleep and hardly paying attention, put her head up and said, “Thou shalt not kill.” Even funnier to my parents was that she couldn’t remember the episode the next morning.
Today the sun came out again. I live in a place proclaiming 300 days of sun a year, and I was starting to worry—rain used to be beautiful because it was so rare, but after twenty days of stifling wet weather, early mornings vacuuming up water in the basement, and legs frozen by the weather, it’s become more of a nuisance.
But today the sun came out. Life goes on. You sometimes have to do the things you don’t want to do, and sometimes that means writing this blog post, or preparing to get back to editing a novel I’ve lost track of again.
And sometimes it means laughing over grilled cheese sandwiches with my parents, and knowing that a woman who was with us isn’t here anymore. And that it’s okay. And that there are still chances to smile in the rain.