My Granny died tonight

July 23, 2003

Marie Theresa Prevost Trujillo 

A letter I wrote to folks the night my maternal grandmother died.
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My Granny died tonight.

The eccentric one.

I know that at some time, I have probably expressed to each of you how important she was to me.

 In fact, my Granny was exceptionally special to me.  She was a woman who always supported me.  She was ever-judgmental, as was her way, but she always understood me.  She let me know early on. She made it very clear that I was supposed to accomplish something.

As a child, for example, she told me that I was not a “nerd” for reading so much (she never knew I’d come to embrace the term – though she got quite a kick out of it when I told her.)  She looked forward to every report card I brought her and she had no qualms about chastising me for any “B” grades it showed. My parents were separating off and on, and finally divorcing through most of my childhood.  I needed the boost, I’m sure.

And she boosted. She pushed me to go to college. She said, “Get that certificate!.”  Something my brother has tired of hearing, right?

Soon, she encouraged me to go on to law school – something that scared the hell out of me. [I mean seriously, only one guy who MARRIED into the family had done that!]. She told me, “if your Uncle Bud could do it, I damn well know you can.”  And I did.  She was right.  I still can’t f-ing believe it.

But really, Granny was a woman who taught me that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are – and she taught me to be that person with fierce.  She taught me to dream.  To dream and to hope and to wave my fist in the air. And goddamnit, I’ve tried.  And I’ve decided to try even harder.

My Granny was the type of person to give you her last dollar – and I’m not just saying that.  The woman paid the hospital bills for my birth because my parents could not.  And as a child, my parents were young and stupid (take that the best way possible), so she bought me clothes for school, brought me the junk food I loved, and paid for the summer camp I thought only rich kids got to enjoy.  She even let me watch the movies that my parents didn’t. [I won’t mention the titles, but if I ever had any questions about “content,” she didn’t shy away from explanation.]  Come on!  That’s the best Granny ever!

Later in her years [and mine] and on a fixed income, she sent me small checks in college.  She told me to use it for “mad money,” because, as she said, “You work for you money-I know you pay your bills.  Have a good time for once.”   Granny sent me stamps to send her letters and cards.  I did. 

Then, she even sent me the TV-advertised book to collect the State Quarters when I got to law school.  It was silly at first, but she even sent one for Donna, my roommate, whom she had never met.  Over the next few years, every time a new state quarter was released, she sent me home with two.  One for me, one for Donna.  And she’d call after I’d returned to New York and ask, “Did you give Donna hers?”  [I hope I did.  Donna?]  You know I’m not gonna let that collection lapse, right?

But back to the present:  I’ve spent the last few weekends in Maryland.  Mostly its been to spend time with Granny – her health deteriorated quickly. It was a mixture of medical problems that involved her heart and her lungs.  But I’ll be honest, I was visiting to also support my mother, who had been caring full-time for her.  I’ve been speaking with my mother two or three times a day.

I tell you -there’s something about being so close in age with your mother that I really can’t explain.  18 years. It’s a lot like growing up together. It has affected me in a profound way.

And I know I haven’t returned many of your phone calls or emails.  To some of you, I haven’t communicated much with you at all, if at all – about what is going on.  I hope that you can forgive me.

There has been lots of drama between my mother and some of her family.  I’ve made a personal goal to alleviate some of that and combined with the drama of my own life, it has been quite tumultuous.  But I’m working on it.

I hope you are all doing well and I thank you all for being my friends and my family.  I thank you for the support and love you have offered to me over the years.  And I thank you for reading my tribute to a woman who has meant so much to me.

Love,

Buffy/Maria

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