My grandfather died last Sunday.
I was told that it was peaceful. He was in the hospital, resting in bed. There was no pain, though it was a bit difficult for him to breathe. He simply closed his eyes, squeezed my grandmother’s hand, and left. That’s the end of it. I’d like to think he’d have closed the door on the way out if he could have to give my grandmother some privacy. He’s the reason why we don’t air out our dirty laundry.
Eight years worth of Sunday’s ago I received my first confession. I confessed to everything, though I had done nothing, but I remember looking into the Virgin’s stained glass eyes and thinking that I had harmed her. They kept telling me that she was my mother. My real mother’s name is Mary. I don’t mind hurting her. Perhaps that is what I confessed to. I only remember the tears and the soft words of an anonymous priest. I was told that for that moment, he was Jesus. They told me a lot of things on those Sundays.
I was very drunk just a few Sundays ago. I remember thinking to myself how awful it was that I was turning into my mother. There was vodka on the sink next to my hair dye. I nearly drank from the wrong glass, but once I got that cheap shit into my throat I told myself that it’s okay to feel like that. My grandmother and my mother and my step-mom are all drunks. I’m not a mother, so I can’t have a problem. Something about that logic made me shudder, so I shut myself up. I won’t speak about it because it’s a dirty sheet, and no one is allowed to see our stains.
This Sunday was the first Sunday in years that I felt at peace. There was no guilt, no pain, only the pervasive air of peace as I sat next to my grandfather’s urn and watched the finches and hummingbirds flit across the yard from his old chair. In only seven days, life had returned to something close to normal. Grandma went back to cooking. My father mowed the lawn. Sheets were washed and hung out on the line, fresh and white in the late spring sun.