I watched my grandmother work. Her hands would turn over the brush creating these awkward splotches that would become beautiful in five minutes time. When she was finished, she would sit me on her lap and sing this song she had learned from her life. "Come where you are from the depths of the sea, build another life where the demons can't see." She would sing me to sleep with that wretched song. It brought me comfort until high school, when I realized it wasn't an innocent song.
I was born moments from an orphanage. Someone took me from the womb to a towel, then to a grey plaster room with only one window. I would live there for seven years before Sarah came for me. My grandmother. She wasn't a suitable candidate for adoption. She was single, but eventually because of the large brown spot on my face, they allowed her. My blood.
I grew and she shrunk. She took me everywhere. My earliest memory is in her arms and watching a man in a brown suit coat yell at me...at her...at us? The guy in the brown suit walked away like they always did, but she was always right in front of me offering me something I didn't want but needed. She knew that what I needed couldn't be recreated.
I wasn't the only one. She rescued seventeen children from a dog pound of kids no one wanted. She watched them grow. She sat at their trials. She was present when their kids were born. She was weeping at their funerals. Not even for a moment did she lose hope.
They didn't find her remains for three weeks after she had died in her chair. All of this amazing person was reduced to photographs and memories. She was gone.
None of the other kids made it to her funeral. There are always reasons and many of them valid. I wouldn't miss it. Not for anything.
She closed her eyes and I covered her up. I stood alone in front of her when they closed her casket. I remembered enough of her to know her spectators had always underestimated her.
I write this 40 years later as I lie in a hospital bed and dying of cancer. The thought of someone that beautiful being forgotten reminds me of the curse of time. My brothers and sisters are all gone, but she was always my mother. This women who had saved so many people died alone in the night with no one to see it...to hold her hand.
This is the tragedy of a wonderful life. That some of us may forget who we were actually made to be.
Thanks for reading...Z