Today I am tired to the bone. There is not one inch of me that doesn’t hurt. My eyes are scratchy and bloated. I feel like a ran a marathon or spent the last two days in drunken bar fights. In a way, I wish either of those things are what is wrong with me.
I have no desire to read, promote, edit, or write. I don’t even want to look at my laptop. There is a piece of me that never wants to write another word or utter any kind of story. I’m forcing myself to write this because I think it will be good for me and no other reason.
You see, yesterday I returned to the place that we laid my mom to rest, almost to the day, forty years ago. This time I buried my second mother, my maternal grandmother, Rose Lovato. If you read my bio in my book you would know that she is one of the reasons that I love spooky stuff. Our culture and our family have always had a unique connection to the supernatural and no-one could convey that better than Rosie.
When I was little and my mom was missing to go to chemo my Grandma Rose would stay with us. We would cuddle on the bottom bunk bed and she would tell us stories. Some funny, some scary. I would beg to hear the scary ones over and over, so much so that I earned the nickname Spooky.
I didn’t care if it wasn’t cuddle time either. I remember being in her kitchen and she was making tortillas, rolling dough into balls, placing them in the galvanized pot and covering them with a red and white tea towel to rise. Her bright red finger nail polish flashed as she rolled out and worked the dough. I begged her to tell me a story. I think she was annoyed that I wouldn’t let her get her work done, but she told me a story anyway.
The day before she went into hospice she was telling us stories. Beautiful stories about answered prayers and angels she saw. I tucked these away in that secret place in my heart reserved for my most private thoughts and memories.
At her memorial service, we shared stories about her. Her devotion to prayer and middle of the day phone calls, no she did not care if you were at work. How she won $6000 at her favorite casino. The time she had to go to the tavern to find our grandpa and when a man made a lewd comment to her she beat the hell out of him with her purse. How they lost everything in a big fire when they lived in Utah and she took her two tiny babies on the train back to Colorado that very night in nothing but her nightgown. How much she liked a good party, and good music, and to sing. And tell stories.
Today I feel like I will never publish an other thing. It takes confidence to put your work out into the world. I have what I consider a delicate balance of support from those around me. My insecurities regarding writing are legion and require specific support from specific people. Knowing somebody as tough and outspoken as Rosie was in my corner, no matter what drivel I put out, made me feel like I could do this. She’d be there with her big purse to wonk anyone that dissed me. Now there is a terrible void in that network of support.
Remember I told you my family has a unique connection to the supernatural? At her memorial, one of my cousins told me he talked to her and that she was ok and wanted us all to know that she was happy, she was where she wanted to be. Perfectly normal in my family, perfectly acceptable. My boy reminded me this morning as he came in to see me writing this and crying, that Grandma Rose is still there for us, not to worry. She may have come to him too, but he rarely speaks about the encounters he has.
Many elements or themes from stories Grandma Rose told me pop up in my writing. Stories, it would seem, are the binding chord from me to her, from this world to the next. I’ll keep telling them, for her.
Until next time – Thank you for teaching me to be a good woman. Love you, Grandma Rose.