20 years ago

I woke this morning around 5am (after going to bed around 2:30), though it was about an hour before I admitted defeat and finally made my way downstairs. I sat on my couch and looked at the date . . . and then the time. Almost 20 years exactly . . . down to a few minutes.

I looked at the game Clue sitting under the tree. On the morning after Christmas in 1992, I sat on the kitchen floor at my aunt’s house playing Clue with my cousin Diane. The rest of my cousins were spread throughout the house sleeping in beds and on the floor and on couches. My aunts and uncles stood around my grandmother’s bed.

Diane looked up at me and said, “No.” For just a second, I thought she made the exclamation because I was going to win the game. Then she said, “Dawn,” and I turned around. Another cousin, Diane’s sister, the only other one of us awake, stood behind me. She only managed to say, “Mom-mom” before we were running out of the room.

Slowly the rest of my cousins woke. Everything was in a daze. She had gone peacefully, they said. She smiled as she looked at all of her children, they said. Her breath became softer and then she passed, they said.

I couldn’t eat that day. I sat on the living room floor while It’s a Wonderful Life played on TV. I didn’t cry much. I thought I should being crying more. I felt guilty.

I consider myself blessed to have had so many wonderful women in my life who have helped raise me. My grandmother was one of them. I lived under her roof on three separate occasions as a child. I’d sit on her lap and play with her necklaces as she sang songs to me. Or we’d stay up late and watch a movie. Or she’d bring me fairy tale cassette tapes and coloring pages home from work. Or she’d yell at me for moving the magnets on the refrigerator (seriously, who puts cartoon character magnets on a refrigerator and then tells a 5 year old not to play with them?). Or I’d sneak caramels from the hutch in her dining room. Or I’d simply play on the floor while she and my mom talked.

I hear her voice in my own sometimes. When I yell at my daughter to wash her hands or tell her she makes a better door than a window. Just as I hear my aunt’s voice when I giddily tell my daughter to rise and shine in the morning. Just as I hear my mom’s voice when I call my daughter a pokey puppy or yell at her to pay attention.

Just as I hear all of their voices when I tell my daughter how much I love her. My mom and my grandmother live on that way . . . through us . . . through memories and stories and laughter and love.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Really beautiful tribute Dayle.


  2. It’s never easy to lose someone, but it’s always nice to know that they can live on in the everyday little things. Thanks for sharing this piece Dayle. 🙂

    (And I’m thinking of you today.)


  3. Aaaaaaaaaaand there go the tears.


  4. Posted by Karen on December 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm


  5. a very touching story. Thank you.


  6. Very well told, and so true how they live on in so many different ways if we just pay attention. Thanks for sharing your memories.


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