Lee / by Rebecca Tillett

Dear grandma,

I was so sad to hear of Lee's illness last year, and when my mom told me several days ago that she had passed, I was crushed. Not just because suddenly this woman was gone but because I would never have the opportunity to meet her. The death of those we love and care about and the possibilities that die with them can never be recovered. I had always tried to imagine what the sister to my mother would be like.

Would they have similar mannerisms?
Did they sound the same?
Did they laugh at the same things?
Did they both love in the same ways?

This was a window I was never fortunate enough to see through and I'll carry these questions with me for the rest of my days.

A parent should never have to endure the loss of a child. A mother should never outlive her daughter. I can't imagine the pain, loss and emptiness you're feeling. I couldn't even try. When my dad died, my grandmother couldn't really talk about it, but I saw something change. She changed in so many little subtle ways. A part of herself had deserted her. She carried that void with her until the dementia finally stole many of her memories. Now, she's forgotten entirely that he ever left. I've begun to see this as a rare blessing of such a violating and ravishing disease.

I am devastated that I can't be there with my family to grieve the loss. I am devastated that you all have always been so painfully far away. I am devastated that I couldn't spend my time with and get to you know all like I would have loved to. I am devastated.

My sympathy, my love, and my broken beating heart are with you all.

My deepest condolences,