Those of you who know me know there are a few consistencies there. One of them is that I hate old age. I don’t like the coming attractions, if you know what I mean. This tends to keep me from forming any bonds with elderly people – actually, for many years, they gave me the creeps.
But how things change.
With Vicky came Vicky’s grandmother, Audrey. And I didn’t just fall in love with Vicky. I also fell in love with her family, especially Audrey.
And Audrey died this weekend.
Vicky has a good attitude about it: they had a good relationship and now she’s happy that Audrey’s at peace. My attitude isn’t quite as accepting. Being the first old person I was close to and the first one who died on me (talk about inconsiderate!), I feel myself torn – I feel her loss.
And with her funeral coming up, I feel something else unique: the desire to speak.
Now, before you start laughing, listen. Funerals are the rare instance where I prefer not to talk. I am silent – mostly because I wish I could be anywhere else.
Not so much Audrey’s.
I told Vicky, adding that I’m sure it would be out of place and that I don’t expect to speak. I just feel the need to speak.
… and this is why we have One Path, isn’t it?
(No, the real reason is so Vicky can write but that’s a lost cause, ain’t it?)
This is what I would say if I were to speak:
Audrey had the same name as my mother and my sister. Maybe that’s why she felt so much like family to me. And that in itself is pretty strange because I’m not the kind of person who really understands that “family” feeling.
But I did with Audrey.
The first day we met, she was in the hospital – not in the best of sorts – but there was something about her that disregarded all of the minutiae. She had no airs, no defenses. She was without pretension. So, you can imagine my surprise, perhaps, when after knowing her for about an hour she took my hand and told me she approved. You see, she knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day. And I knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day. But I didn’t know that she knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day.
And before we were married, Audrey got out of the hospital. Vicky and I were visiting her in her new home. Before we left, she took my hand – I leaned in – and this amazing old woman proposed to me. She asked me if I would be her grand-son.
So, I’m proud to stand here as Audrey’s grandson. And I will miss her greatly.
Being an atheist, I can’t say for sure that there’s one more angel in heaven. But I do know there is one less angel here on earth.