Went to see my mother's cousin yesterday. Her only child died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack in August. He was 59. Her husband died three years ago at the age of 86. Now she's officially an orphan. I don't know what to say to her even though I love to talk to her. She told me again how my cousin Kenny died while carrying the saddle down to the meadow to get the horse ready for his daughter to ride. She spoke with a slight trace of bitterness that her granddaughter still has both horses and now she takes care of them herself.
She talked about our grandmother, Annie, and the story that Grandma always told about when she was born. She was named for Grandma. She also talked about how the kids made fun of her name when she went to school and the funny retort her father came up with, laughing and laughing at the memory. I said he sounds fun. She quickly replied He was a LOT of fun, her eyes sparkling bright.
Her little apartment is lovely with her water colors and acrylics and she maintains the perfect eye of an artist, commenting about the proportion, shape, colors of signs and windows as we shopped NorthTown Mall for something to wear to her only child's funeral. She's 86 and can calc ulate a 40% discount on a $65 blouse.
She asked some fairly pointed questions about the ownership and transitional affairs of the family business that made her lawyer and accountant scramble for answers and reappear a little uncomfortable. Her crystal-clear, china blue eyes darted over at me, giving me the signal to close in for the details. Not much of anything gets by this one.
She told me she watches the squirrels prepare for winter, furiously moving the acorns from spot to spot in the flower beds outside. She has lovely windows in her apartment and the reds and golds of the season form a beautifully woven tapestry of a world in change.
I don't know what to say to her because I think she is brave, so much braver than me. When I start to think about Kenny dropping dead in the pasture and think about what she thought when she got the call, I cry, cry, cry, cry. The tears come so quickly and so powerfully, it scares me. I am not as brave as she is. Not at all. I choke them off, hard, and swallow, hard. And listen, my lips forming a tight, thin line. I listen to her talk to me.
So we're now we're learning from each other, Anna and me. I can't imagine what it is that I am supposed to show her, but I am trying to understand. I know she has much to teach to me. Soon it will snow.
The 'Kan EWA