The Day Before My Grandmother Dies

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The day before my grandmother dies
I’m on a bus heading for a celebration.
The bus is full and quiet,
it reminds me of another bus,
on another continent,
on a trip that solidified a friendship
I’d be worse-off without.
The memory makes the bus ride
less heinous than expected.

The day before my grandmother dies
I sip hot coffee and watch CNN in a bus station
waiting for a ride to a celebration.
A young man asks to use my cellphone;
His has been stolen, along with other things.
He’s wearing someone else’s shoes.
I am happy to help him get home safely.

The day before my grandmother dies
we are on the road to a celebration.
We chat about cotton candy machines,
puppets, and art.
The GPS interrupts our conversation, KITT
desperate to be included.
We ignore him as we discuss
the beauty of nature.

The day before my grandmother dies
a man gives a friend a precious gift:
a stack of ancient comic books.
We are preparing for a celebration.
Although they are old, the books
foretell our evening:
Aquaman assured enjoyment, and
Hulk-sized fun.

On the day before my grandmother dies
I wear a blue dress made in India,
purchased in Rhode Island.
My hair falls in natural curls,
I wear almost no makeup.
A fellow guest is excited, I
am wearing flip-flops too.
Another compliments my sweater,
she calls it: The Everdeen.
I am dressed for a celebration.

The day before my grandmother dies
I watch two people I love
mentally, spiritually, and legally
become a family.
They are the reason for our celebration.
The groom makes us smile,
the bride makes us cry;
a bridesmaid makes us laugh
when she pulls a reading from her bra.

The day before my grandmother dies
I witness the bitchin’est father-daughter dance
in recorded history.
They teach me how to celebrate.
I drink champagne and mead, and
am a party to lewd acts
committed by stuffed animals and men
who are often boys;
Which only makes me love them more.

The day before my grandmother dies
I, uncharacteristically, do not feel like dancing.
I celebrate, In Spirit, as I watch them
move, and groove, and twirl.
I want more champagne;
but if I had the energy to track down another bottle,
I’d be dancing.

Because the day before my grandmother dies
has been a long, exhausting one.
I hug my friend so tight.
I traveled far to help her celebrate;
Because, and it’s been weighing on my mind,
Life is sweet, and
Life is short.
Too short for them not to know
You Love.
Because you do love
even when you can’t dance,
and you do not spend the night.

On the day before my grandmother dies
I am overwhelmed
by Love.
From the family who invite friends
to a celebration that honors their only daughter,
to the stranger who lends her cellphone
to the boy who’s been mugged.
Love creeps in every word, and Love
oozes out of every action.

Because
on the day before my grandmother dies
we are built
out of Love.
From the bride to the groom,
to the guests, to the dog
pressed against me as we leave
the celebration behind
the day before my grandmother dies.

— Bex, August 2014

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