A Letter to a Loved One: Randi

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Dear Grandma,

I find myself wishing I could pick up the phone and talk to you. Sometimes, I leave voice notes on my phone like they’re voicemails to you. The last one was from May 1st—Hey Grandma, it’s me. I wish I could call you. You’d be proud of the weight that I’ve lost. You’d say that “I’m coming down.” I saw this woman earlier who looked like Ms. Candy or reminded me of Ms. Candy with her fly glasses and it made me think of her, and you too, ‘cuz you had fly glasses as well. So I’m just calling to say hello, hope you’re having a good time up there, I know you are. Glad you’re not hurting anymore, and Stanley too. I love you very much and I’ll talk to you soon.

I think about that time when you were sitting next to me on the couch watching TV and I nearly blurted out that I’d had an abortion. I wonder what you’d think about all that’s going on now. While I don’t know that you’d “approve” of my abortion, more-so in the sense that I think you wish I hadn’t put myself in the type of situation to have to make that choice in the first place, I don’t think you’d agree with the government being able to tell women when they can and can’t have abortions. Nothing about what a woman decides to do with her body should be anybody’s else choice or business if you ask me. But then again, in 1973 when Roe v. Wade passed, you were 35 with two kids. Ma was around 10 and Uncle Sonny was about 16, so you lived through a time, at least partially, when it was illegal to have an abortion. Did you ever think about having one? Did you have friends who did?

The other day, I thought about what it must be like for Mom to have lived on this earth with two humans that came out her womb for nearly 30 years. Isn’t that wild? Did you ever look at Ma or Uncle Sonny and marvel at who they’d become? Or wish they hadn’t gone through some of the things they did? Mom really misses you. I think it’s kind of funny how she calls you “Mommy” even though she’s closer to 60 than she is to 50 now.

I got 4218 tattooed on my arm after the house sold, and a big phoenix last summer. You’d laugh maybe, because these increasing number of tattoos probably support your theory—Don’t know man want a woman with all them markings all over her body. I still ain’t got no man but I promise you someone is gonna marry me, in time. I didn’t realize you’d gotten married to Stanley in your 30’s or early 40’s. What was that like? Mom read a letter she’d written to you, telling you to not be afraid to get married. I guess she was in her 20’s. When she read it, she laughed at the fact that she was giving you life advice. It happens that ways sometimes, I guess. Even still, y’all were married for 30+ years. That’s pretty phenomenal. I wish I could talk to you about that too. For me, Stanley was your “foreva man” because that’s the only man of yours I knew. I met Mom’s dad once, in middle school I think. I didn’t know he beat you. I’m glad Stanley never did. You didn’t deserve that.

Anyways, I cut my hair again too, it’s much easier to deal with. You’d like it this time because I didn’t cut it allllll the way off, like the last time when it was basically a buzz cut. I think about you with every new grey hair that I notice on my head. I think there are dozens now. I realize that all my life, I’ve known you to have salt and pepper, then just salt hair—that silver you wore so well. I wonder if I’ll be salt and pepper like you by the time I’m 40? Only time will tell. I doubt I’ll miss you any less 12 years from now. I love you Grandma.  

 
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Thank you to Randi Gloss for sharing and being a part of opening up the conversation around grief. If you would like to share a letter please email info@maryyoung.com