I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. About all the mistakes that I have made so far in my life, about what I'm doing right now, about how my relationship with Tony kind of threw a big rift into everything that I have ever attempted to do. An old friend of mine died recently. It didn't seem that big a deal at the time, he had od'd last year, and the last I heard was a vegetable. Apparently, he made a somewhat miraculous recovery. He was in a car accident a few weeks back, and died. He was only 24, barely a year older than me. It really made me think.
I know I've made some pretty stupid decisions in the past few years. And as much as I would like to blame them all on Tony, the fact of the matter is, I was acting of my own free will. Yes, my grief over losing him affected a lot of my actions, but I was still the one to take all of them. And I continue to make some stupid decisions. But that's what life is. You make decisions about what you think you want and need and have to do to get by. And a lot of them are stupid. Everyone makes these mistakes. And I have made (and continue to make) more than my fair share. I know that you do not approve. And I know that on some level, you may understand them, and that's part of the reason that you don't approve. But I am me, and I'm going to do the things that I do, regardless of how other people feel about it.
Life is just too short. Life is too short to hold things against one another because we don't approve. Life is too short to spend time holding grudges, life is too short to spend time in hiding because you don't want to hear what someone else is going to say about a decision that you have made. Life is too short to harp on someone because you don't like the way that they have chosen to live, or the decisions that they've made. We're not put here to judge, we're put here to love one another and bring happiness to our loved ones while we can.
I was looking back over notebooks and diary entries and old poems and I found something in them that hurt me deeply. You and I used to be so close. Mama always said that I was so much like you, and though she said it in a derogatory manner, I was always so proud of that fact. You are so beautiful, and brave, and strong, and you have been such an inspiration to me. Now, I'll do something particularly willful, or be terribly stubborn about a decision, and Jessie will be like, "Nope, you're nothing like Grandma," in a completely sarcastic voice. Because we all know that I am. And we're both proud of it. To be one of the strong, willful, beautiful women that descended from your blood. I wouldn't ask to be anyone else. I am proud of the incredible women in our family, I am proud of you. I can't explain to you how much I love you, and how much it would hurt me to lose you.
I know things will never be the same between us. I've done things that I am not proud of. But I still did them. I don't always make the best decisions, but I'm still here, and I'm still living, breathing, hoping, smiling, and loving. And life is just so uncertain. Who knows when one of us won't be here anymore? I want a relationship with you again, a good relationship where both of us know that we love one another and we're family, and that's all that really matters.
Part of what keeps me away is my mistakes. I know what I've done. I don't need to be reminded every day. There is always a nagging voice in the back of my head, reminding me of all the things I need to be worried about. I don't want to spend my youth worrying about all the times that I have screwed up. You only live once, and I would like to try and make good, fun memories while I'm young, and I still can. There is a time and place for everything, and I know that I will have to eventually grow up, and be held accountable for everything I've done. I would like to put it off a little while longer.
I love you, Grandma. You've been there for me when no one else was. And I'm sorry that I was never there for you, that I wasn't the granddaughter that you deserve. I'm sorry that I have disappointed you, and that I have messed up so many chances. I'm sorry that I let my love for Tony come between us, that I've been so stupid where he was involved. I wish that life had worked out the other way, that I had graduated from Sewanee, and I did something useful, and I could be giving you your first great-grandchild. I wanted to do so many things, and now it just seems like time is running out, and I'll never be able to do all of them. And I don't have anyone to blame for it but myself.
Just know that you have been such an inspiration to me. And that when my mom tries to put me down by saying, "You're just like your grandmother," it secretly fills me with pride. Because I've always wanted to be like you, so strong and beautiful. I think we are a lot alike, and maybe that's why it's so hard to look at one another objectively. I hope one day to be a grandmother like you were. Always unconventional, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I have so many happy memories of you and I, and I hope that you have just as many. I have this picture that I kept on my bedroom wall. It's the one where we're at your apartment in Rivergrove, and you're sitting in a chair, and I'm talking to you. I'd say I was two or three years old, but I am talking away, and you're just sitting there listening earnestly. And when I think about our relationship as I was growing up, I always see that picture in my mind. Me talking, and you always listening, I love you so, so much. I hope you know that.
Your Loving Granddaughter