The Thirteenth Day…

l to r: Tony, his daughter Amber, my mom in the white, Grandma, Daquan and Auntie

…a Christmas Day memory

I could go back in time, but I’d much rather love on the Christmas of 2012. I had one of the best Christmases ever since childhood this past December.

Firstly, It was one of the few Christmases I actually was excited for. I don’t know why. I normally shrug at holidays. Definitely not a fan of commercial days based on religious/historical inaccuracy or ritual. Anyway…I normally let my mom do her thing, go see our family and not care if I’m riding shotgun or not. This time was different.

For one, my Auntie (in the purple) would be visiting and staying a week with us. She’d moved down to NC in September. Also, my cousin Tisha and her family would be up from SC.

Daquan, Amber, Tisha and her husband, Tony

I was also able to give my godson Syre a cool Christmas. I got him a Transformer (Bumblebee, my favorite as well as his) and he loved it. I had fun playing Santa to my sister’s “stepson” and my niece (Joy’s daughter) Chloe. Joy and I also “put in” and gave my mom a Kindle Fire.

We went to Mt. Vernon and visited my grandmother ON Christmas AND the day after. The day after, because that’s when my uncle and his family usually come through.

Uncle Kenny
His wife (center) and his baby girl Megan (with the silly face) and Kaitlyn

We had a ball. We ate, laughed, chilled. I saw my father (he has those pics) and I could say that it was the first time since my grandmother passed that I was in her home without her there for the holidays. It was weird to see his girlfriend at the stove preparing food…like my grandmother did. Chile, don’t get me started. LOL

We also had a great Thanksgiving. We went down to Mt. Vernon and us cousins cut up. I have to share this pic, because it’s the four of us that grew up in the same house for so many years. So much so…we’re not cousins anymore. We’re brothers and sisters. Seeing these folks made my year!

My sister and I flanked by our “brothers”…Arthur (BOOBIE) on your left and Damyan on your right

It was a marvelous holiday and I’ll cherish it forever.

Kween of What?

My love tree just keeps growing…and growing…and growing 🙂

Firstly…HI!!!

I know it’s been a long time! I haven’t been blogging a lot. Life has been dictating that so I’m not really sorry…just missed you guys!

I just gotta tell you. I love the way life shows you what you need to see. Over and over again, I am shown things even when I’m second-guessing myself. I’ve got great instincts and a lot of empath and psychic energy. I feel a lot and often say, “Nah…stop thinking too much Kiwi”. Mostly because for a long time when I’d SHARE these things, people would say that. “You’re thinking too much girl…” I should know better than to question myself but from time to time, I do. So God be doing things…moving things…proving things. I get it, Lord…I get it.

I’d been reflecting recently on everything around me. My friends, my family and my lack of love life which really isn’t a lack of love…just a male symbol of love…because I’m in a love affair with myself. I dig me. I date me. I seduce me. I flirt with me. I tell me I’m beautiful and that I’m im’poe’tant. LOL

Don’t get me wrong…a girl misses the niceties and novelty beauty of love, but I’m so happy just being able to say I’m blessed…that I don’t dwell on it often. I have my moments when I get lonely for a good hug, kiss, cheek stroke or *ahem* “stroking”…but, that’s human. As long as we’re in this skin, we’ll crave or at least consider…needing someone else.

I learned recently that my blessons (blessed lessons) are vast and deep. I’ve learned the art of love and loss…the art of friendship and loss…and the never to be mastered “art” of losing family. Every day my heart aches for my grandmother, but I know how she was. She was a Cancer woman of much sass, love, outspokenness and grace. She embodied the “mother” trait and often at times could be a walking contradiction. I can hear her saying, “Baby Love…don’t worry about grandma…I’m fine. You worry about you! Go out and make me some great-grand babies. Make em pretty, too!” I don’t think I’m having babies, grandma…but, I think I’ve got the worrying about ME part down…FINALLY!

I love the fact that losing past loves didn’t make me this hateful, inconsiderate, bitter person. I still lavish in all things love and have a deep affinity for couples in love and babies with their parents. After the initial breaking up with past dudes, after long…I’m remembering them at the pinnacle of our connection with fondness and smiles. I’ve learned that the ART of forgiveness is steeped deeply in the art of self. It’s for me. MY freedom, peace and future happiness. Who they are and what they do is solely between them and their God.

I’ve also learned that in spite of how time passes, there are people who were once my best friends and sole confidantes will always reside tucked sweetly in my soul. There…in the spaces between hi’s and bye’s…are albums of mental pictures of things we did together, recorded audio of phone convos that go back and forth between salacious, silly and serious…and always…always…LOVE.

Once I’m bonded with you…nothing but death can keep me from loving you. Nothing but the most heinous of crimes could keep me from still thinking of you as I remember you best.

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I once considered renaming myself. Taking the Kween of Love name away from my Twitter and giving myself something more realistic to how my life is. I mean, folks be coming to me for advice and support on things I don’t even possess true experience on. I have no kids. I have no man in this moment. I’ve got both my parents (Thank you God for each day you renew us in) and honestly…I’m not a party person, a sex nympho or anything.  What I realized the other day that people come to me, not because I’m an expert. They come to me because I am an observer. I am a pure lover…and because they TRUST me. Isn’t that beautiful? To be trusted with someone’s daily life troubles and concerns on the strength of love for you and yours for them. That’s a blessing.

Like I said…I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. Some gaps need to be closed in on, others are fine as they are. Every gap isn’t an obstacle…sometimes, it’s for your own safety. This ONE gap though…it’s not working. A bridge needs to be rebuilt…even if only so that it’s there and not because it will be used right away.

Baby steps, Kween of Love…Baby steps 🙂

A Year Later





I had to write about it…I mean, it’s what I do. I blog. I blog my life, the life around me and in this instance…a life missed.


A year ago today, my grand-kween (as I’ve grown fond of calling her) left this plane for a more heavenly one. I remember the day so vividly. Waking up lethargically…not wanting to go into work. Sitting on the side of my bed, wondering how she was doing in the hospital and trying to wait for a good time to call my dad to check in on her. As I sat there feeling dismal with the dread of what I already knew…my sister called. She’d called the job thinking I’d gone in and decided to try the cell. She was on her way to get me because dad had called and asked us to come soon. The doctors weren’t expecting her to make it.


I began dressing and when sis got to the house…we left for Mt. Vernon.


When we got there…she was gone. I went to her bed where she laid…her chest still moving from the machines (to keep her viable until the family had seen her) and all I could do was hold her. I held her and cried the hardest cry to date. I choked on tears and pain and didn’t want to let her go…but, I did.


I’d done so two days before. I sat and spoke to her spirit and told her she could go. 81 years is a  grand and beautiful age at which to go out. 8+1=9…which is a number of completion…divine. (Think 9mos of pregnancy or the 9 numbers)


She was inspirational and loving. She had a hearty laugh and a sassy attitude. She’s made her mistakes, but still lived as best as she could without apology. She raised her kids and she held them down no matter what. She was a pillar of the community and helped many through her job at the city hall of our hometown. To sit in her funeral, March 8th, 2010…and hear so many speak of her as I knew her and MORE…was a wonderful way for her to cast off and transcend.


I am proud to be her grandbaby. Her “Baby Love”. Her “Monkey”. (the buck stops THERE…you will NOT laugh at the other name she had for me) LOL


I love you, Grandma…I miss you…and I pray that I make you proud in the way I’m living. Hopefully, I’ll see you one day not too soon.


R.I.P. Beautiful…






**I’m changing this pic as soon as my dad gives me another one 🙂

Merry Christmas, Grandma





Hmmm…my 37th year was some kinda year. Who would’ve known that I’d leave it with a few less friends and an ex. Who would’ve known that I’d gain a few more friends who’ve been my Rocks of Gibraltar. Who would’ve known that I’d have less patience, less tolerance, more attitude…~sigh~ 


Who would’ve known that I’d leave with one less…grandmother.


My champion, my counselor, my Cancerian comedienne…someone I could go to and tell her the things that I felt silly saying to others.


I miss you, Grandma.


I miss your mischievous chuckle. Your sassy, no-nonsense wit, your loving ways, and that “knowing” that few others tap into. I miss hearing you call me “Baby Love”. I miss your need to see my wallet (because you never believed me when I said I had money, LOL). I miss how you’d feign disappointment when I took too long a break between phone calls. 


I’ll miss your yearly Christmas card…money or no money.


I remember the year you bought me an electric organ, on which I learned to play “Home on the Range” and “Silent Night”. No wonder I love the piano so much now…I should take lessons one day.


I remember how when Monifa and I were kids, you’d make SURE that daddy got us something nice or at least gave us money…no matter what else he did, you made him put us first. You’d hound him come Fridays so he’d remember my $20 allowance and Monifa’s $10…We secretly licked our tongues at him for it. LOL


I remember the last time you sent me money…I knew something was wrong. You needed Uncle Jerry’s home care aide to write my address down for you. I’ve never known you to need someone to write for you. That worried me. Then your voice with all of it’s life and the way you spoke as if you were smiling…gone…replaced with the frail echo of sickness…


Our last conversation…you promising me you’d go to the doctor, me afraid it was too late…


At least our last words were, “I love you”…and I do.


Merry Christmas, Grandma…


Always, Baby Love

Dia del Pavo 2010~Turkey Day 2010





We came. We ate. We conquered…several helpings in one day. Turkey Day aka Dia del Pavo 2010 was good.


People lost their feet in the dishes served up with consistent goodness. My sister, who was sick and couldn’t even smell or taste still did a wonderful job. She complained that she couldn’t tell if things were good. I reassured her (before even tasting) that things would be fine. When you cook from memory and not recipe…it’s consistent every time…unless you get heavy-handed or you experiment. I very rarely taste food in the process. By eye, I can tell what’s just right.


I didn’t cook this year. I peeled potatoes for potato salad and that’s it. Pots, foiled pans and plastic containers were filled with individual contributions for yesterday’s dinner. I was particularly looking forward to the mac-n-cheese made by sis and the stuffing made by mom. I also had a hankering for the smoked turkey my grandmother orders from Fiji every year. As usual it was good…even though this year…he was a tad skinty. Someone didn’t feed that fowl. O_O


My grandmother came out of her comfort zone (barely) and spent the night over. On the other hand, she had us watching back to back court television. O_O Then game shows O_O LOL. My grandmother can be a tad rigid in her routine. VH1Soul was on when we entered my sister’s house…and immediately…it was too loud. ::good ole grandma:: 🙂


Eventually, we got into a movie…Grown Ups (to which my grandmother excused herself and went to bed, lol). We laughed at that. Actually, the first movie up for viewing was “Eat. Pray. Love”, but my cousin and grandmother heckled from the peanut gallery until I told my sister to put in the comedy. Since I’m actually in mid-read of Eat. Pray. Love…I thought maybe that was a good thing so that I could read first, watch next. *still rolling my eyes at them* lol


I have to say…not hearing my other grandmother’s voice on that day was…quiet. Even if I didn’t always get to SEE her…I always called and had her run down what she’d cooked and served. If folks visited…If she’d gone out. She’d ask the same. If Thanksgiving landed me in her town, I’d try my best to get someone to take me to see her. There was a bottomless, irreplaceable void this year. I called my dad…knowing this is his first holiday season without her, too. He’d spent it with his brother and sister-in-law. I was glad for that. I hate that we live so far and that my inability to drive puts me so far out of the way of visiting frequently. Maybe a lunch date with dad is in store soon. I’ll invite him up and we can go to Applebee’s or some dad-friendly spot. lol


I was very thankful for the time I got to spend with my mom, sis, her boyfriend, my aunt, my cousin, his girlfriend and my one remaining grandmother. Even in her sometimes unbending ways, I still smile at her when she isn’t looking and shake my head. She’s 77…she’s not going to change. What CAN change…is her being here. So, I just bite my tongue and let her do what she does and be happy for her getting on my nerves and everyone else’s nerves…because one day, we’ll bargain for a chance for her to stand tight-rope style on our last, thin nerve.


I hope you all enjoyed your holiday…sorry for the day late, dollar short blog on the holiday. Took me a minute to write it. lol

Two G’s





For the longest time…I had TWO grandmas. I was so proud of that. I didn’t know my maternal grandfather. My paternal grandfather…I knew barely. So, I loved that I had a power duo of the grand kind!


Growing up, my grandmothers from time to time hung out…drinking Miller beer in front of my maternal grandmother’s store front walk-up apartment. Not too long after they’d both find God and become Christian women deeply seated in their churches’ congregations. For as long as I can remember, they attended church for the most part and took care of their families.




Mary…


My mother’s mother. My earliest memories of her are when she’d babysit for me while my mother was at work. She and my mom’s only sister, Iris…would take care of me and my younger sister. I remember Apple Jacks at her breakfast table and playing in her living room with my cousins and uncles…the latter which were only 7 & 8 years older than me. My “Grandma Catherine” as I’ve always called her when differentiating, was always the sterner of the two. She to this day…is a hard nut to crack. She can be downright mean at times…some would say evil with the things she’s prone to say. Yet, with me…I’ve learned to love her past those things. She can be tender and caring…but it takes a little cajoling and a lot of understanding. I’ve always been straight no-chaser with her…not allowing her to get away with some of the things that make it hard for some to connect with her. I do see her softening a LITTLE with age, but she’s still got that Taurean bullishness that can sometimes push folk away.


Lately, all I can do is take each moment I can with her…especially since. I’ve only got ONE G now.





Josephine…


My father’s mother. She died this year. March 2nd, 2010. I’m a LOT better than I was. Some days I woke up crying…and fell asleep that way. I have to admit that each time it wasn’t JUST my grief…but, the other things were just weights on top of a ton of pain. When she left here…a part of me left, too. 


My earliest memories of her were in her apartment in the projects. Sometime ago, the projects was a beautiful, green, gleeful place. Where she lived, kids played freely. Parents watched over all of the kids…not just their own. No nonsense was allowed…if you weren’t supposed to be in that playground (read: no pervs, thugs, etc.) …you were told to go. It was a place where the kids could play outside AFTER the street lights came on…and I miss that in today’s communities. I lived with her for a long time during my grade school years. My lunch box was filled with FOOD. Not a sandwich (which sometimes my kid mind preferred)…but, I’m talking a warm cheeseburger and chocolate milk. I’m talking a meatloaf sandwich with cheese. I’ve lunched on BBQ chicken wings. There was always a Twinkie or a Hostess cupcake in my lunch. Damn, I realized that she might have contributed to my “thickness” as a child. LMAO. Funny thing…I was a celery and carrot stick girl. I loved granola bars and oatmeal. To this day, I can’t stand processed sweets. If it’s not homemade, I’ll bypass it. I definitely prefer a pear to a pie…but, watching grandma…I learned to love the WAY pies were made. She made her own dough, just like she made her dumplings fresh. Her spaghetti sauce was homemade and she rarely bought a frozen entree. “Grandma Gunn” as I called her…cook put her foot in some mac-n-cheese and make a kid love green beans.


When I got older, I could call her and discuss anything with her. She taught me to be a loving kind individual. She taught me to not spare the words “I love you” to those that meant the world to me. Her laugh echoes in mine and her legacy is in my face. Some days I ache for the sound of her voice. I somehow thought in my mind that she’d always be here…and I found out that grandmas DO live forever…just not here on Earth.**


Now, that she is gone…I’m down one grand…I used to roll with TWO G’s. Now there’s only one. That’s okay…I’m still rich. 😉


I love you, Josephine Gunn. I love you, Mary Monroe. Two sides of the same kween. hehe. 


**Addendum. (mental note: Don’t blog while talking on the phone) LOL

Stairs, Dolls & Going Home: A Dream





I won’t make a habit of telling you guys my dreams…sure, they’re entertaining and what not. I just don’t want you all thinking I’m several sammiches short a very odd-shaped basket.


The only reason I’m really sharing this dream, on this day of 10-10-10…is because of the ending.


The beginning is garbled. As per my luck in my dreams, the escalators, stairs and such are always ill-formed to travel on. Going down when I want up…or vice versa is always a recipe for disaster. At one point in my dream, I was on a set of stairs outside my old elementary school…and they were so huge and steep, that I couldn’t get down them to the sidewalk.


Anyway…I find myself back at the apartment that belonged to my best friends from the PJ’s. Apt. #2B is where a LOT of good times rolled. (I lost my virginity there, lol) Anyway…I’m there and so are the siblings I kicked it with. S & Q…along with my sister’s godsisters, were there. I have recurring dreams (and Joy will understand me) where I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pick things up, put them in a bag and leave…yet, I can never remember everything, find everything…or things keep falling out. I had all of these clothes that clearly were mine that needed to go across the hall to my grandmother’s house. (She died this past March…I lived with her for a number of years). This is where it becomes bits and pieces…


S, flirting with one of the godsisters (ticked me off)…
The eldest godsister had me thinking she had a real puppy…but it was a stuffed one…
There were talking toys that went back and forth between being real and not…
I decided to leave because there was this one toy I needed to get to my grandmother’s house…


::pause::


My grandmother kept a doll on her sofa for years, that us girls always wanted to play with (esp. my younger sister). She was a Black doll made of nylon or some synthetic material. She had cabbage patch features, but she wasn’t a cabbage patch doll. She was better. She had long black yarn ponytails and a cream colored dress. She once wore socks, but those disappeared. When she died…my sister wanted it and I thought that it should go home with her. She now has the doll with her.


play>>


…I get to my grandmother’s door. I look for my keys (which look a lot like mine do now). I fiddle with them, kind of knowing that I don’t have the key to her door. I “blink” (if you’ve read the last dream, it’s when I make things happen for me in my dream)…and I see the VERY distinct PJ’s key. (There’s NOTHING like a PJ’s key…it was exclusive to the PJ’s in Mt. Vernon, NY. It was expensive to cut…and if you lost it, even more expensive to replace). I get into the door. The doll I had with me comes to life as soon as we hit the door. This “doll” becomes a beautiful little 4 or 5 year old girl. Four parted pony tails, long and silky. Round face, the complexion of mine. {{insert tears}} I put down the bag of clothes and things I gathered from the other apartment, and take her by the hand. I lead her to the back…the floors are shiny and reflective…I can see very little furniture. NOTHING like it was when my grandmother actually lived there. I get to my grandmother’s room and she’s lying there. Behind her on the bed is the doll that once sat on her sofa…but it’s like IT grew up. It’s full-sized, mature in appearance, but sleeping. My grandmother awakes and asks me who the little girl is. I tell her I found her and she needs a place to stay. I tell the little girl to call her grandma…and I tell the little girl that she can either call me, “Kali” or “Mommy”. She agreed. I woke up.


~Normally, in my dreams…when I dream of people who have passed on…they are “visiting”. So, this one has me a little stumped. I normally don’t dream of dead people once they’ve gone on. I wasn’t thinking of her. I wasn’t eating anything peculiar before my nap. The TV was on low…so no environmental noise.  I tell ya…this is weird as hell~


What do you guys think?

Thanks Fantasia

Well, as I’d written in a previous blog…I lost my paternal grandmother. This blog…I guess, is just a way to say, “I’m okay” and touch base with you all.

This song, debuted itself the night my grandmother died and I tell you…everytime I hear it I am crying by song’s end. Honestly…it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard Fantasia sing. She usually screams through songs…so this softly sung ballad is a refreshing joy.

“First step, take a deep breath…you don’t need a reason why. You can (You can) take, take time…you can (you can) walk…run…dive.”

I’m stepping back into life gingerly. Going to work and functioning. Talking and laughing with people, at shows, singing and smiling with music. Trying to find my way back to poetry and writing. What I DO regret (now that I think of it) is not allowing my grandmother to see the poetic part of me. It never dawned on me to show her. I wasn’t hiding it or anything…but, I never brought that stuff up. We’d talk and laugh and swap stories when I called her…but, I don’t think we ever discussed my love of writing. I hope she can see it now.

The wake and funeral services were beautiful. People of course said beautiful things…but they also said REAL things. Some called my grandmother “bossy” *giggling*…and that she COULD be. Some referred to her as the Queen…which I never knew. Funny that is what people call me now. Her love of her family and community was honored…especially the way she treated everyone like they were important. She’d make you feel so special. Never would she even outwardly display a dislike for you…even if she didn’t. She still showed you respect and concern…she just kept her eye on you. LOL

There was a gathering of a medley of people who loved her. So many felt our loss. I mean, the pastor of the church, rented out the first floor of our family house. After attending church became difficult (because of my great uncle’s care)…her pastor would come upstairs from his own apartment and have private bible studies with her. How special WAS she? *beaming*

Anyway…thanks, Fantasia. There’s a song that evokes the deepest of emotions about my grandmother. From now on…it’ll serve as a trigger to my memories (as if I really need one)…yet, it will bring about a positive sense of coping that I need to get through.

Love,

Baby Kween

Josephine

I’ve got to blog this out before I implode…picture to come later…


Yesterday on March 2nd, 2010, between 1 and 2pm…my paternal grandmother, Josephine…died.


To say I’m devastated to my core, is an understatement. To say that my heart and soul physically aches…is speaking lightly. Yes, she was my favorite person in the world. I love my mom and dad…yet, the truth is that growing up…when their relationship was unstable and I felt lost as a child…she was an anchor. I learned love…how to love, how to receive love, how to be a lady and how to be cherished. I got that from my grandmother, who never let a day pass when we were together without saying, “I love you”.


She called me Baby Love…among other names throughout my childhood. (I will not share them just so you all can laugh at me, lol). I have some GREAT memories of my grandmother. I learned to love coffee because of her. She wouldn’t give me my OWN, but she’d give me a few sips here and there. (In her beer drinking days…I’d steal sips of her Miller) LMAO


Her and my mom’s oatmeal run neck in neck. Perfect consistency with applesauce and every now and again…raisins. She ALWAYS had cake mix and on demand would make one for me. She had the private stash of Krasdale sodas (what you know about that?) and indulged my love of novelty cereals. I was telling my girl, Joy…that my grandmother would prepare a picnic for my friends and I. We lived in the projects in Mt. Vernon, NY…in an era where it was perfectly fine for your kids to play and be safe. My grandma would make me Kool-Aid (the red flavor) and put it in a jar. Make PB&J’s cut into fours, give us carrot and celery sticks, Twinkies and pop-tarts…all to sit under her window on a blanket behind the benches. She’d watch as we had a blanket party and played with our dolls.


She was the only person I knew for the longest who made scratch rolls, that were so good…she had requests throughout the buildings for them. She made her spaghetti and meatballs with her own homemade sauce and she kept Parmesan cheese because I wouldn’t eat it without it. She was the beginning of my love of cooking.


My grandmother was my best friend. She was understanding and nurturing. She’d give me the truth, but she’d also support my decisions. When I was in a relationship no one else agreed with, she supported me and embraced my ex. To this day, he loved her dearly…and she him. She’d always tell me when she saw him and spoke so sweetly of him. She knew that keeping me at arm’s length would only alienate me and she couldn’t keep an eye on me. Even at 37, she was constantly trying to give me money and considered me her baby.


Sadly, the stress and strain of trying to take care of her elderly uncle (who was more like a brother) took it’s toll. Her heart gave way to two attacks and her lungs to pneumonia. Severe dehydration and thickened blood made it hard for her frail frame to recuperate. I know she fought as much as she could…but, as she’d told me when we spoke the day before she went into ICU…she was tired.


One day, I wont cry until my chest heaves and my breath shortens. One day, I will think of her name and only smile instead of cry. One day, I will get through a night without tossing and turning. Today…I miss my grandmother like crazy. Today…I’m a baby girl without her precious grandmother.


I love you SO much, grandma. Be at peace. Be my angel.


Love, your Baby Love.

80 More Years Please…


I don’t know why…but lately when I speak to my grandmother I worry. She turned 80 in July on the 16th. I teased her and asked had she turned 8…she played along. My grandmother has been a mainstay in my life since I can remember. God blessed me with 2…yet this grandmother…my dad’s mother…has been monumental in shaping my personality. With my maternal grandmother, she’s a lot different. I love her to pieces as well…but she and my mom are cut from the same cloth. Very detached emotionally, my grandmother isn’t one for niceties and affection. For goodness sakes, she signs her cards with her full government handle like we’re not her peeps. She’s 100 times more caring and giving to her church family than her own blood. You could get in really good with my grandmother if you’re a stranger.

Not so with my dad’s mom. I lived with her for the majority of my adolescence. She was loving and nurturing. She taught me about the importance of a woman’s hygiene, she taught me to be a lady and she taught me how to love. I craved my mom’s love and attention, but she was never accessible on that level. My grandmother told me she loved me everyday. She let me make my own choices. All through my childhood my grandmother went to church faithfully every Sunday…but she never made me go. She DID encourage me to read the Bible though. If I asked to go to church, she’d take me…otherwise she left me to decide for self. My mom forced me once we moved back in together…and though I have benefited from some of those years…they were tough on our relationship. My grandmother is quite the cook. She made a lot of things from scratch…but played to my childish palate with things like Shake n Bake BBQ chicken, when she could very well have made homemade sauce. I have great memories of my grandmother…and some that aren’t. The years I spent living with her, my father and my uncle were sometimes traumatic because both of her sons were doing drugs and alcohol for most their lives. (They both are now clean and sober; dad almost 13yrs, my uncle almost 16) Yet, in spite of all the fights and struggles and sicknesses…they remained loyal to one another and have been there through each other’s most trying times. I learned that from dad’s side.

So, when I talk to my grandma…and I hear the frailty in her voice. I hear how she hasn’t been feeling well (even though she puts on her bravest voice) I often become afraid. I fear the day someone will call me and tell me she’s no longer here. To say that my heart would break is an understatement…she IS my heart. I know…she can’t live forever. But if I had one wish right now…I’d ask for 80 more years with her.