My maternal grandmother, Denece Jensen Brighton of Milo, Idaho, died Thursday morning. This post is not a cry for sympathy. I'm doing fine, and while of course I appreciate any and all condolences, I'm not soliciting them. But I have to write the post because she was my grandmother and that's kind of a big deal. It would be rather bratty for me to write my weekly post about something else.
It had been less than five and a half years since her father, Russell Jensen, my final living great-grandparent, died at 94. Both of them were preceded in death by two of her younger siblings, Russell "Arlen" Jensen and Necia Jensen Hartgrave, each in their late fifties. Only her brother Dane remains of that immediate family. What a sobering realization that must be for him. At 73, she was still not terribly old by today's standards, and I would have expected her to stick around a lot longer if she hadn't been experiencing so many health problems in the last couple years. She was the closest to me of all the people who have died in my entire life so far, and as such her death seems to herald a new phase of said life. First the great-grandparents, then the grandparents, then the parents and aunts and uncles - though of course, any number of things could happen to mix up that order, and I don't really expect to outlive my parents anyway.
I'm doing fine. I'm not afraid of death. I probably don't even take it as seriously as I should. I know it's just a step in God's plan, a temporary transition to another plane of existence, and in my mind, the choice between making that transition and continuing to suffer in mortality is a no-brainer. I don't ever want to be in my seventies having brain aneurysms and liver cancer and whatever. It will just feel weird to not see her again for a long time. Growing up in New York I saw her for a week or two every other year, and of course since moving to Utah I've seen her rather more often. It feels weird already to think about her being dead. Maybe it hasn't sunk in yet. I am a little sad that she didn't live long enough to see me accomplish anything, but maybe that's a selfish perspective. I last saw her at my sister's wedding in May. She won't be at my wedding. Not in the flesh, anyway.
Last night I ran through her voice, her mannerisms, her laugh - no particular memory stands out that I feel like writing about at length here, but I tried to keep the whole person in my mind. Yes, there is the usual guilt that I should have talked to her more often while she was alive. I don't talk much to my family members. It's just how I am. I do my own thing and they do their own things. When my sister called me on Thursday, my first guess was that somebody had died because she never calls me and I never call her. But that doesn't mean we don't love each other. I really don't know what else to say. My brain isn't functioning well this weekend. Yesterday I had plenty of graduate school stuff to do but instead wasted the whole day doing virtually nothing because I had no focus or motivation, and I hate myself for it. I'm really not able to give a fitting tribute to my grandmother at this time. We'll see if anything else comes out after the funeral next weekend.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.