My granny's house was the central hub for the family for as long I can remember. Since her death in November and subsequent burial in December 2007, the surviving relatives have gone their separate ways. My architect cousin continues to work eighty-plus hours a week, my schoolteacher aunt enrolled in computer classes two years after having first purchased her desktop, and there have been two stillborns within the last two weeks.
Granny was the glue that held us together, even with my cousin and his new family stationed in Germany, and me in New York, she had a way of uniting all with phone calls. She keep us updated on who was doing what, and possible reasons as to why if it were something untoward.
She was ninety when she went home to glory, and I'm glad she lived as long as she did, but her long life brought with it a sense of expectancy. We all expected that she'd outlive us all as a testament to her will to survive and personal strength.
There's a void at granny's house in Houston. It's difficult for some to visit the house in her absence, because they know she won't be sitting on the corner of the sofa when they step inside the living room.
Sundays at Granny's after church were second-nature. The children raced inside to change into play clothes, some of the women stepped out of their heels and into slippers, while others headed to the kitchen to warm up the meal that had been prepared the night before or that morning. My mother or other aunts usually made the dessert.
There's no tragedy to speak of other than the splintering of my family back home. I'm powerless from where I sit, not that I could do anything to heal and reunite my family. It's painful to face Granny's absence. We all remember how she'd shuffle about her house, sometimes refusing help, her path blurry due to cataracts.
I feel her absence in my life, too. I've been unable to discard the ticket stub for the flight to Houston, as if holding onto it will bring her back to me, to us. It won't. Letting go will take sometime yet. When I close my eyes I can still smell her coffee percolating in the kitchen on the gas stove, and remember what the peach preserves looked like in the corner closet. Each room holds a special memory, all of which involve Granny's wisdom, guidance, energy, and smile.