I rose from my bed five hours earlier than the recent average Monday morning for a class that I have been excited about for weeks. My alarm went off once, I snuggled in with Muffin and waited for the alarm to go off another three times before dragging myself from my comfy tomb to get dressed.
I put on my sassy red trousers and decided that today would be the day, the first in months, that I would put on a little makeup. I carefully applied my inky-black eyeliner, oil-stain glitter and foundation before taking the puppy out for his morning ablution and tucking myself into Denise's car for the hour-long trip to Bellevue to learn about a really fancy colour line.
We sped down the highway, packed in like sardines, darting North in the sideways-rain, the radio was blaring some really fabulous music and I was mid-text with Muffin when my mobile phone started ringing. My sister's image came on the screen and my heart immediately sank, knowing that this probably wasn't going to be a fun conversation, mostly because my sister never calls me.
Not ever. Not when our mum died. Not when she graduated school. Not even when I was going through my divorce. So, I swiped my finger across my phone screen very pensively.
You know, for as many times as I've tried to imagine what I would feel when that call came, nothing in the world could have prepared me for the immediate tears. The breaking that my heart would instantly endure. The amount of cigarettes that I would feel the urgent need to smoke.
I've tried for years to fabricate in my mind how I would react, what I would feel when I got that call...
"Hey, I was calling to let you know that LaDonna and I are on our way to Canon City. Grandma died."
There is no way to actually prepare yourself for the death of a person that you just always imagined would be there. I could never make the connection in my head, couldn't click into the emotions that would come rushing over me when faced with the fact that that beautiful, soft, wrinkly face wouldn't be at the other end of the phone line whenever I called. The emotions that made me burst into tears instantly. Like, not able to communicate effectively, tears. I was a goddamned mess, sitting bitch in the back of Denise's car, at least forty minutes from our destination, thus effectively stuck. Stuck with those hideous emotions.
The emotion of knowing that I promised my grandmother a month ago that I would write her a letter that I never got to. I fucking hate myself for not having taken the time between reading law books and colouring hair just to sit down and write her a letter. Even just a page to tell her how much I love her and how special she is.
The emotion of knowing that the last time I ever got to see her was five years ago and I can barely remember it. Knowing that I didn't take enough time to remember every single detail of her face, smell and voice. I hate myself for not committing as much of her to memory as possible. I hate that I didn't get the chance to go visit her this past summer because of all this court bullshit that's been going on. I hate that I'll never get to hear her voice again.
You know what the absolute worst part is? Hearing my grandfather fall completely apart on the phone. Having to hear is voice break as he recounted finding her at four this morning, slumped-over on the sofa, gone. It knocked me down again, after the crying had stopped and I felt okay again. He told me how much my grandmother loved me and how he didn't know if he'd be able to eat again because he'd never been in so much pain.
And now, here I am. Broken again and not sure at all of what I want. People keep asking if I want hugs or to talk and I have no idea. Muffin offered to sell some stuff to get me a ticket back to Colorado and I don't know. I don't know what I need. I need to not hurt and to not have to feel so completely, devastatingly alone. I've just begun accepting the hugs and decided that I should probably not ever wear makeup again.