Someone Come Get My Grandma

A little while back my grandmother had a far from subtle conversation with me about me taking the person I’m seeing to come and meet her. I had to stop her right there and tell her I am yet to meet him so there’s no way I can take him to meet her. How do I introduce her to a non-existent, mythical creature? Now she’s moved from that to asking me when she will have another great grandson. (My sister had the first and only great grandchild.) Can you tell me why my grandmother is watching my womb? Lol.

Below is a snippet from my conversation with her yesterday.

Grandma: Keep behaving and being the nice girl that you are and make sure you meet someone as nice as you are.

Usually she just tells me to behave and to be a nice girl. This time she had to throw in a little extra.

Me: Yes Grandma. You keep behaving too.

Grandma: And I hope soon I will get to meet my other great grandson. Ehem!

Bwahahaha. Can you say buss a big laugh?

Grandma: (Laughing) This is the first time I’ve heard you laugh like this. It sweet yuh!

Me: Well you’re giving me jokes.

Grandma: God spared me and allowed me to see my first great grandchild, and now I hope to see the other one.

Me: Bwoy Grandma…

Grandma: When are you coming to see me?

Me: Maybe on the weekend.

Grandma: Well, come with joy in your heart, and you can tell me about my great grandson.

Me: I hear you Grandma (more laughter)

Grandma could never begin to understand. I guess she’ll just have to continue waiting to be introduced to this mythical creature and continue watching my womb lol. I’m just over here doing me with no idea how anything will turn out.

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Chatting with Grandma

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My grandmother is something else.  Today I went to see her for a long overdue visit and we chatted away, going from one thing to the next.  In between telling me how proud she is of me and my sister and that we should keep doing well, she was her usual entertaining self.

Grandma: You like your job?
Me: Yes Grandma.
Grandma: They treat you good? Anyone saying anything about you? I cyaa cuss them off because they’re too far and I don’t do that anymore either. *starts laughing* (Check her back in the day and you would have gotten the tracing of your life lol)
Me: *joining in her laughter* No grandma, you don’t need to tell anyone off.

Later on in our conversation she told me that if anyone at all makes any remarks about me I’m to tell them off.  Watch out world, I have my grandma’s permission to tell you a thing or two lol.

Oh, and we spoke about my hair.

Grandma: *staring at me* Your hair looks funny to me. (She has no filter :/ lol)
Me: It’s because you’re not used to it like this.

Out of nowhere she dropped a topic on me that I didn’t see coming.

Grandma: So you took him home for your mother to see him yet? You know you cyaa tek home just anybody to her. Must be a good man.
Me: *shocked but cracking up* Grandma I haven’t even seen him yet, so there’s no way I can take him home for her to see him. When you go to bed tonight say a prayer that God will reveal him to me.

Of course she started cackling big time.

My phone rang and it was my cousin.  I told her I was with grandma and would call her back.

Me: Grandma, Candace says hi.
Grandma: *gives me a look* So how you never let me talk to her?

Goodness, talk about not letting anything miss her lol.  I called back my cousin and grandma started chatting away to her. She even asked her if she’s behaving herself and being a good girl. I wonder if grandma remembers her grandniece is twenty-eight years old. She probably doesn’t or doesn’t care, because she does the same thing to me too.

We chatted a lot more and then it was time for me to go.  On our way out she stopped to give me some sweets.  No matter how old I get, she still gives me sweets.  While we were standing at the gate our conversation went like this:

Grandma: You know yuh pretty.
Me: *cracking up at how random she is*
Grandma: And look at you laughing. You’re a pretty girl. Make sure whoever you take home to your mother is a good looking man.
Me: Grandma! You’re too much.

Well, my grandmother certainly lay it on thick today. No subtlety whatsoever.  It must really bad when your grandmother starts asking what’s going on. Good looking gentleman, where are you? My grandmother is asking about you.

Two Simple Words – My Daddy

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I started this on Father’s Day but I decided not to publish it, mostly because I didn’t want to make anyone sad, particularly those who are close to me and can relate to this specific situation or those who have lost someone close to them.  Today I’m in a funk for all sorts of reasons and I’ve been blank for a while now, not finding the spark to write anything (or to even really do anything for that matter).  If you’re friends with me on Facebook that’s a shocker to hear, right? I always have so much to say and apparently people like it.  It’s the reason I started a blog in the first place; the push of my Facebook friends.  It surprised me to see comments from persons saying that they check my page just to see what I said that day, that I should write a book, make videos, blog…you name it.  I’m glad I took the advice and started the blog because it’s been yet another channel for expression.

Well, here goes…

I’m sensing this is going to turn into an epistle and that I’m going to share even more than I usually would. Why? I don’t know. Why on social media? I don’t know that either. It’s Father’s Day but I can only celebrate the memory of mine, but it’s a great memory because he was a great Daddy. I lost my Daddy when I was 15 (almost 16) and I was as much a Daddy’s girl as I am a Mommy’s girl. Even though we know death awaits us all, we still never expect it, and I certainly didn’t expect it when he passed. Not then and not that way. We were talking and laughing…I think we were watching ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and at the same time I was on my laptop. In the midst of our talking and laughing, he gasped and his head fell back. I screamed for my sister because I didn’t want to scare Mommy but of course my scream woke her and they both came running. He was unresponsive. We tried getting him to the car but he felt like lead, and we couldn’t move him. All that time I was trying to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. I didn’t know how to so I really didn’t know what I was doing but I did it anyway, thinking I could help.  Knowing now what I did not know then, if he was still alive at the time, I may have made matters worse being that I didn’t know the correct technique. During all this my sister ran outside into the street and screamed for help. My neighbours came running and assisted us to put Daddy into another neighbour’s vehicle (since it was bigger I guess. I don’t quite know).

We rushed him to the hospital and the whole time I continued ‘CPR.’ I expected a movie type ending where the doctors would rush out and use the paddles to shock and revive him. That’s really and truly what I expected. That’s not what happened though. A doctor did rush out, but she said, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.” She didn’t get the right script. That’s not how it was supposed to go. Everyone went into the hospital but I stayed in the van. I remember rocking back and forth like a crazy person, talking to God, saying the same thing over and over. “How could you take my Daddy? How could you take my Daddy?” I’m not sure how long I was in there but my neighbour’s daughter remembered me and came and sat with me. What she said to me was very simple but I think it’s because of those simple words that I was able to handle it. She told me that my mother and sister need me and that I have to be strong for them. Jody Barnett, thank you. You couldn’t have been more right, and your words have stayed with me. She took me inside and I remember I sat by myself. I was already seeing what she meant. My sister was rolling on the carpet, the dirty hospital carpet, bawling. My mother was a mess too. I couldn’t bring myself to comfort them though. I was in a zone and wanted to just sit alone. At one point they sat on the chairs hugging each other and still I sat alone until I was called over. Truth is, I didn’t want to go. I needed space, to sit and process, but how could I say that I wanted to be alone?  That would have been selfish, right?  I went over and we all sat there hugging each other. Family members started coming and the police came too (to do a report). The doctor spoke with us.  I guess it was procedure.  I don’t remember much of that though. I do remember her giving my mother sedatives so that she would be able to sleep at nights. I don’t remember the ride home at all; not one bit.  When I got home I called my friend Robyn and left a message on her cell (she was at her high school ball). I calmly told her that my Daddy had died but that I was okay. I then proceeded to clean the house. I mean really clean. Cleaned the bathrooms, changed sheets, all sorts of things. I don’t know if it was denial or just how I decided to handle it. Over the next few days my friends would come by (well Robyn moved in) and they would sit there crying for Uncle Calvin. He was very involved and had been our ‘chauffeur’ between home and school and dance class. While they cried I would get them tissue and console them. “Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?” they would ask. It’s like we reversed roles. I don’t remember a lot about his funeral because as terrible as this sounds, I was half asleep. Mommy had thought it would be a good idea to give me half a sedative to keep me calm during the funeral. So as emotional as the ordeal of the funeral was, I was fighting sleep at times.  It’s bad enough that people saw that I barely cried in the days leading up to it and now there I was probably bucking.  People must have wondered what kind of daughter I was.  I definitely remember my performing arts group Little People and Teen Players Club. One of the songs they sang was “Three Little Birds” and To-Isis sang “So Hard to Say Goodbye.”  They delivered these songs beautifully.  I remember seeing little Asha crying her eyes out as she walked off the stage, and I forgot my own grief.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her that it’s okay.  Kareen, you gave me goosebumps when you came to the house the night before the funeral and gave us a taste of the song you would be singing solo on; “Nobody Told Me,” and best believe you gave me goosebumps all over again at the church.  At the graveside you would not have known that I was the daughter of the person being buried because I was way off with my cousin and her mommy. I was pretty far away from it but Ms. Levy (head of my performing arts group) came and got me and led me right over and put me at the front. I guess she knew I needed to face it.

Perhaps my experience with losing my Daddy has made me process the things the way I do now. I don’t know. I seem to have said I don’t know quite a bit throughout writing this. I forgot to say that our family doctor said he probably died instantly. As awful as any kind of death is, that’s a comfort to know, and at least I don’t beat myself up thinking that my shoddy mouth to mouth resuscitation made things worse.  By the way, all of this happened when I was preparing for CXC so it is by the grace of God that I did as well as I did – four 1’s and four 2’s.  The biggest thing for me is that I passed Math lol. How I ended up with a 2 is a miracle in itself. I can’t begin to tell you how terrible I am at Math.  I don’t even think my mother thought I would ever be able to tell time dwl. The only time I like numbers is when I’m counting money – from a child until now lol.

Jody, thank you again for something you don’t even know you did.  Robyn, thank you…you already know.  Anabela and Paloma, you may not have been in Jamaica at the time but your love and support traveled oceans.  Kathy, yours did too.  I remember your message letting me know that you were praying for us.  Ramesh, I can’t remember a whole lot from the service but I do remember seeing you standing there with so much concern on your face, watching me as I left the church. Matthew, I can remember you playing ‘big cousin’ as you always do even though I’m the older one and holding me as I walked out. Candace, forever my partner in everything, it was you who I was with when I was off at a distance from the graveside.  She too has had traumatic losses, one of which I was present for as she experienced it, and I replay that in my head at times, wishing that she never had to go through what she has, but she has been so strong.  Keisha, you took food for us, because Lord knows preparing food was the last thing on our minds.  Up to now, both you and Audrey still go and look for Daddy and wash off his gravestone whenever you visit your loved ones. Robert, there’s a thank you here for you too.  Keisha, Audrey and Robert…all Air Jamaica family. I wasn’t a part of the Air Jamaica family yet. I didn’t join it till years later, but what a beautiful thing it was to see the sea of colours (the uniform) in the pews. All that support.  My high school friends who came out; Chrystal, Shamay, Senna, Alison thank you. Auntie Joy and the rest of the family, thank you for not forgetting Daddy.  Even in the midst of your grieving, you walked over with us to visit his grave (we were there for another funeral).   If I didn’t name someone I should have, I’m sorry.

Out of the turmoil came the meeting of a whole new side of my family that I didn’t even know existed. Well, that’s actually a bit of a crazy story. I had a close friend at the time, Alison, and I used to be at her house all the time sleeping over. Her mother’s best friend lived in New York but would come and visit, and so being at the house as often as I was, I had met her. One day she told Auntie Cecile that she was coming for her cousin’s funeral.  Auntie Cecile told her that she too had a friend’s funeral to attend. Believe it or not, it turned out that the friend and cousin was my Daddy.  I had met this lady all this time before and not even known she was my cousin.  If one good thing happened, it was meeting Debbie and as a result, all these other wonderful relatives.  I am grateful for that, and if you know me well, you know that I love my family.

Even though I’ve experienced loss, I’m not good at finding the words to say to others who are grieving.  If there’s anyone who lost someone and felt I didn’t say as much as you expected, I’m sorry.  I just remember that with my Daddy sometimes my mind may not have been there in my grief right at that particular moment, and then someone would wish me condolences and there I was again, jolted back.  I guess I’m concerned about doing that to people. A big thing too is that I didn’t really know how to respond to people when they wished me condolences. I didn’t ever want to seem sad and make them feel sad or worry. So now I don’t know how to express it because I’m wondering if they’re feeling that way when I’m speaking to them.

I’ve held it together pretty well I think, and the only times I really break are if I hear certain songs, particularly Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance With My Father.’  That song just kills me.  Once I was in the back of my friend’s father’s car and it started playing. I wished and hoped and prayed that he would change the station but he didn’t realize.  My lips just wouldn’t move to ask him to do it so I sat there, sucked it up and silently cried.  I also get teary eyed when I watch fathers walk their daughters down the aisle because I know that I won’t have that moment.

Now we’re moving from funerals and sadness to weddings.  After planning weddings for others, and really enjoying doing so, I can’t tell you what I would want for mine (if that elusive occasion ever comes my way that is). For real…all I can tell you is that I want a nice ring and a nice dress.  The ring doesn’t need to be huge or expensive. I just want to like it. I mean, I’m going to be wearing it every day for the rest of my life. The dress…hmm…I don’t know what floats my boat there either, and this is coming from someone who has watched three million episodes of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and ‘Four Weddings.’ Once again, I just want it to look nice.  It should be flattering. The one detail that I do have worked out in my head is how I’ll walk down the aisle.  All the men who have been a big part of my life and/or my father’s will walk me down the aisle…each one will walk me a few steps down to the other.  I guess I’m going to need a long aisle, huh 🙂 My godfather, my sister’s godfather Uncle Howie who was also my father’s very close friend, Uncle Wilfred and Uncle Eddie, who along with the rest of their families became family to mine.  There’s also my cousin Matthew who actually wasn’t on my ‘aisle list’ until just now as I typed. I started thinking about how he’s questioned a male who was interested in me.  Actually, interrogated may be the right word. He always needs to know what’s up with his big cousin lol.  Of course there is my Uncle Bunny…Uncle Bunny has the last leg. He and Daddy shared so many conversations about all sorts of things. I can picture them now just chilling and talking. As old as my sister and I are, Uncle Bunny still worries about us driving and warns us about being careful about everything.  He always has words of advice for us too.  Always tells us how proud he is of us and everything we have achieved.

My Daddy is memorable for so many things.  His love of music is one, which he passed on to me. Show me someone else my age who can sing and appreciate songs from the Temptations (love them), Delfonics, Five Heartbeats, Ben E. King, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole and so many more. Daddy would put on LPs and I would stand on his feet and we would dance.  He also had a love for cars, which I definitely did not get :/ I hate having to deal with my car when there are issues.  If I could have someone else do it, I would.

Every night when I was little he would read to me from ‘My Book of Bedtime Bible Stories.’  I still have it by the way.  I loved to read, and to satisfy my appetite for reading, he would take me to Tom Redcam Library on Saturdays so that I could borrow books.  I asked a ton of questions.  Can you say curious?  To help with that, he bought me a book called ‘Tell Me Why’ with answers to all sorts of questions lol. Still have that book too.  He would check my homework every evening when I was in prep school and leave a note with corrections if there were any to be made.  How many fathers are that attentive?  Although shy, when it came to dancing I was a morning star (as we say here in Jamaica). Ask me to do any new dance move and I was up for it.  He loved to see me dance and felt like I had a talent there so at 7 he took me to audition for a performing arts group. Wonder if he ever regretted that (just kidding) because from then and through high school it meant he was taking me to and from dance, voice and acting classes lol. My life became his and he would sit through hours of rehearsals.  If I needed new leotards, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, tap shoes or so forth, if it wasn’t Mommy with me getting them, it was Daddy.  Oh, and I did gymnastics too.  He was already gone when it was time for me to learn how to drive, but I remember when my sister was learning and he would let her practice at every opportunity.  I remember sitting in the car as she would drive to extra lessons and Daddy and I would sit and wait till she was finished.  He was there however to teach me how to ride a bicycle. He and Mommy bought me one which I was only able to part with just a few years ago because a little boy asked for it.  It was hard to give away but he needed it.  I was no longer riding it and it was more so the fact that it was a gift from my parents why I still had it.  The sentimental value was doubled because I spent many an afternoon riding up and down as Daddy watched me.  I went from training wheels to being a pro rider 🙂 but never did he let me go out there unattended.  Daddy was one to reward good work. My sister and I could get basically anything we wanted when we passed exams.   My strong will comes from him.  Well that’s from both my parents.  I guess mine and Daddy’s is unexpected though.  With my Mommy, you definitely see it coming that she is no pushover.  With Daddy and I it is more undercover.  You would think because we seem quiet that you can walk all over us, but no siree.  We are forces to be reckoned with.  I wanted for nothing, and can wholeheartedly say that I was fortunate to have one of the best fathers ever.

For the first time I didn’t re-read my post to check for errors and to ensure that it flowed or so forth so if anything seems out of whack, please bear with me.  I just typed and published.  I promise my next post won’t be this dreary 🙂 I guess this one just needed to be written, and perhaps you now have a little more insight and understand me somewhat better, if that’s even possible.

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Sitting in Church

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I was sitting in church yesterday and quite a few thoughts crossed my mind. I ended up going because my friend was a guest speaker and invited me to come and listen to his sermon. He did very well and made it interesting by using his experiences to make it more relatable and interesting. It is commendable when young people are so heavily invested in church. Truth is I don’t attend church as often as I should. You know when you’re there and you see people swaying and seeming to really feel the hymns being sung, and appear as though they’re genuinely moved and enjoying the service? They can also offer an ‘Amen’ and ‘That’s right’ here and there while the pastor is preaching.  I would love to be at that point and enjoy church the way I see persons around me enjoying it, but I have to admit that right now I’m just not there yet. I believe in God, I pray every day, I’m thankful for my blessings and I acknowledge that in prayer, so don’t jump to any conclusions here.

I find that when I’m in church I tend to not focus as I should. Same thing would happen as I sat in my lectures in university, but I still did well. I put in the work when I got home and just soaked up everything I needed to. I sit in church with all intentions of really paying attention and I do start out focusing, but every now and then I drift to someplace else, or maybe the pastor says something and has gone on to something else but my mind is still on what was said fifteen minutes back. It’s something I need to work on. I don’t know if I will ever be able to say I actually enjoy church (would be nice) or that I go frequently, but at the end of the day whether I’m sitting in church or at home, wherever I am, my line of communication with God is open. It doesn’t only chip in at church.

During the service it was mentioned that a member had a very sick baby and that the child was given a 50/50 chance to live. Immediately I blocked out what was moved on to next and said a prayer for this baby. It tugged at my heartstrings thinking of what a heartbreaking situation that is. I prayed that he/she would make it and I also prayed for the family who I know must be in such a state right now. Much later on in the service we were led in prayer about it. The lady prayed that God’s will, whatever it is be done, and I don’t think I heard much else after that. I was caught up thinking that I would never want that prayer for my child; that if it is God’s will to take my child that He does that.

Of course I know that our prayers are not always answered and while we may pray that the baby lives, God may still take him/her. As the lady said, it is His will. It didn’t stop me however from continuing along the path of thoughts I was already on (you see here what I mean by drifting during the service). I was thinking to myself that in my earlier prayer I didn’t ‘give God the option’ of taking the child’s life. I prayed with everything in me that He would spare this poor baby’s life and I started wondering, if this was her child, could she so easily ‘give God an option?’ Is she only saying this because it is what is expected to be said in such a setting and what we are taught in relation to God; that we should release our desires and be open to what is in store? It’s so easy to say, “Oh God, let Your will be done,” but had she been at the hospital over her own child would she be able to tell God to take the baby if He saw it fit, or would she pray with every fibre of her being that He spare her child? These are the types of thoughts that cross my mind. I end up on a totally different tangent. How do you feel about it? What would your prayer have been? Actually, I’m asking you to keep that baby in your thoughts and prayers, so let me adjust that…what IS your prayer?

On a much lighter note, I was observing a family. Yes, there I went getting distracted again. There was a mother and father, and their teenage son and daughter. I was thinking how nice it is that they all attend church together as a family, and from their interactions they seemed loving. I was looking at them and likening them to the Brady bunch but something struck me. There were tattoos lining the boy’s arms; both arms. Don’t get me wrong, tattoos are neither here nor there to me but he seemed around fourteen or fifteen so I was quite surprised to see that at such a young age he had tattoos and to such a great extent. I was thinking to myself that his parents probably weren’t too pleased about it. My Brady bunch image of the family was about to be shattered even further and my surprise at this young boy’s extensive tattoos was short lived, because when the service was over I got a good look at the mother from the front. Her nicely tailored jacket I was admiring from the back gave way for a bustier type top underneath that was proudly propping up and displaying her breasts, and over one there sat a tattoo. Lol, yeah I know. There went the image.