We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence; Grandmother was that person to me.
— Phyllis Theroux
When you came to visit a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. You’d finished your chemo and had surgery but hadn’t started radiation, and I hadn’t seen you since February, before you started any treatments. When you got out of the car, I was surprised. Nate didn’t tell me you don’t wear your wig. Your gray hair is beautiful. I know it’s hard for you, but it really is so pretty. It doesn’t make you look old, either, if that’s what you’re worried about.
I was sitting across from you at dinner, and it all of a sudden hit me that, one day, you won’t be here anymore. Not because of the cancer — you’re winning that fight — but because that’s true of all of us. And in the car on the way home, I told David and I just started sobbing. I’m 35 years old, and there’s never been a time when you haven’t been a huge part of my life, and I can’t even imagine a time when you won’t be. I don’t know what kinds of relationships most people have with their grandmothers, but I think ours has always been special. There’s basically nothing I can’t talk to you about, and I love talking to you. You knew about David before anyone else in my family, back when he was just “this guy at work that I really like and who really likes me but has a girlfriend.” And then you accepted him because I love him, even though he doesn’t like cheese or dogs, two of our favorite things.
My father, your son, once asked me bewildered, “How did you and Mimi get so close?” I didn’t have an answer – it’s just always been that way. Maybe it’s that you raised me for a time. Maybe it’s that we’re both singers. Maybe it’s purple tricycles and Strawberry Shortcake dolls at your office. Maybe it’s dinosaur dishes at Fort Detrick. Maybe it’s Paris and Nice. Whatever it is, I want to hold on to it always, and I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared to let it go. I love you.