Letter to my Grandmother: What I Wish I Could Have Said

Note: I’d like to dedicate this post to my family. The ones who are closer to me, that is. Please note that I do not intend to offend anyone, but I wish someone would recommend my fam read this at my grandmother’s funeral, but I can’t attend mass because of the recent Corona Virus pandemic sweeping the United States.

 

Dear B Ma,

Yes, it’s Beth. I know you’ve only been gone two days or three, but already, I’m beginning to realize what you meant to all of us. Honestly, this isn’t about your funeral arrangements, I can’t attend them because of the travel restrictions and I could get sick from traveling. It’s not about how evil my parents’ wanton cruelty regarding the guardianship of 2004 and all that. I just want to tell you things I should have told you, as Mike and thet Mechanics would say, “in the living years.” Yes, you fought cancer, and you might have lost your battle with old age and such, but do not dare think I haven’t forgotten the many times you went with me when my mom was watching my little brother nearly die of a lung infection, and we bought donuts … or rather donut holes. We shared many pleasant heart to hearts, and yes, you were honest, forthright, and all around wonderful. You weren’t just the typical grandma, oh, here are some cookies. You were a lot stronger than any woman could have expected and you put up with your husband for more than half a century. You married at a good age, 26, when most girls would marry, at that age, around 20 or even sometimes 19 or 18. Holy crap, that’s young.

B Ma, I miss the fruit salad. Yes, I do miss that much, and the wassail and the roasted marshmallows. Sarah and Crystal have both become mothers, but I haven’t the chance in the world, and I am hoping you will join the ranks to make that possible. When you became a grandmother, you really lived it up. You and I took walks, sat around hanging out, and you told me you loved back porches. Do they have back porches up wherever you are? I would imagine you won’t need cigarettes, but you will need crosswords.

Here’s a hint about where I’m at: five letters, the capital of a Western state, Colorado. Yep, Denver. Here’s another hint about my man: seven letters, a city in New Jersey. Yep, Trenton. That’s his name. Trenton, and he is the most amazing man in the world.

I honestly should have told you that things are not great, B Ma. If it were you I was saying all this to, I’d pray to St. Corona and ask for a generous intercession. Why? She’s the patron saint of pandemics, and I bet she spent her life healing sick people. If that’s her calling, tell her I said hello, fix this, and please heal the people down on Earth.

As for me, I put together a playlist in your memory, not with classic country, but with stuff that resonates with your roots, and stuff that might resonate a bit deeper with folk and country alike. Sure, you liked Johnny Cash and such, but man, you really might have missed Thomson Square and Love and Theft, Carry Underwood, and many more. I also threw in one for Sarah, called Sarah, by a group that hails from Newfoundland, a community known for its roots in Irish culture. And as for something else I should have told you, I will never send a child of mine to Catholic schools. Why? There are a few reasons why:

  1. Catholics teach that sex outside marriage is bad, and some schools have outright banned gay and trans folks. If my child is gay, queer, transgender, whatever, they could be expelled without refund.
  2. Blind women are more likely than your sighted women to be hurt. This isn’t the 1940s, but it sure isn’t the Handmaid’s Tale. Women deserve better, and that means not being judged for sexual attitudes and activities. I don’t want anyone to believe that sex outside marriage is only a choice, and it isn’t really a choice for me. I was denied that right to marry and guardianized in November of 2004, and you weren’t there. You didn’t convince my parents they should stop lying about me to the court, so you just sat there and let them do what they did. It ruined my life, forever changed my prospects for dating and jobs, and stole my chances of having a child healthy enough for school and societal expectations.
  3. I wanted to be a choral director, but you know what? Fuck it, I won’t be a choral director, or anything except a writer. Hell, I don’t care what you think, nobody will hire a blind choral director without a full on master’s degree. I can’t get access to materials in master’s classes. Ugh. And I should have told you I had to quit college, and rehab did say some xenophobic crap about my Islam, which was highly offensive.
  4. I should have told you my mom and dad were out there to ruin my life after all. Dad called me a few days ago and said you passed, but his saying hi to Trenton is nothing but lip. Lip service isn’t the best policy, and my dad doesn’t get it. We had to change our wedding date because of the corona virus. This virus ruined all our plans, shuttered everything, gatherings, everything. My choirs can’t rehearse or do concerts.

If anything, you are the thing God needs right now to save this planet. You are a praised spirit, so go out there and sweep yourself around the world. I want healing energy for all, and maybe you’ll send your wisdom flying around the globe. What exactly is B Ma’s wisdom like? Well, what you say means “trash” in Italian? Crapola. Right? I hope I’m right, because you said it like it was going out of style. Okay, but seriously, it’s going to be unpleasant without you. Without the bubblegum, without the smell of a fresh back porch, the radio on, and the fan turned on. Oh, the memories of your swimming pool in Lake Mary many years back. Who cares? I do, at least, care about the memory of what you called “cowboy beans.” And yes, “green trees” which are extremely good in a casserole by the way.

In any case, I liked the cowboy songs about beans, and old country music and yes, don’t mess with Texas women. They are the strongest women alive, and if the U.S. breaks up, maybe Texas will be a republic again.

I hope the country doesn’t break up, at least for your sake, but I don’t want to be told I can’t write this letter because of Gileadean rules that don’t permit women to read and write and study. Not unless your title is Aunt, and worse I don’t want to serve men. Your strength and wisdom is what I’m going to need right now to carry on.

God speed, B Ma, and please, whatever you do, don’t let Mom go off the deep end. Just let your light shine on her, and remind her that she is beautiful, a woman worth your while, and worthy of redemption. She might have been cruel in some ways, but I think my mom didn’t get it. She didn’t get the justification of cruel deeds, and she sure doesn’t need to justify why I revoked the parents’ access to medical records. I didn’t tell you that at least you left me in a victorious state of bliss. Despite corona virus ransacking our land, we have a blissful life together. Myself and Trenton? We’re doing good, and we have only so few things to do. But we’re going to have a wedding, and I’m dedicating the playlist for the reception to you. In the Living Years is a song I like a lot, and it reminds me of what I should have told you. Please, I want to pass to the motherhood stage of being a woman, so I want your wisdom and love that you brought your four little kids. And they grew up to be caring adults, mostly. In any case, I want the will to raise my kids, and have many grandchildren too, just like you. IF I don’t have seventeen grandkids, so what? I forgot, but I almost forgot about the seventeenth child. Oops.

Thank you for remembering me on your deathbed, and please, don’t let anything happen to my brothers and parents. I can’t forgive the guardianship mess they put me in, so they need a little whuppin to help clean the mess up. You would do that to your own kids, so why not?

Thank you for the times I cried, laughed, and enjoyed the times we had together. Watch over me and my future children, and thank you again for your life.

God speed, and rest in peace, B Ma.

With love,

Beth

 

P.S. You guys I have to make a correction. In her obituary, it states that my grandmother had seventeen grandkids and four great grandchildren, and I forgot to correct that in my previous post. Thanks all readers for reading this, and to hell with the trolls. Please comment respectfully, and show respect for the dead.

In Memory of my grandmother: Strong Women and Tough Toenials

Dear readers,

I’d like to say I don’t have the obit yet, but my grandmother, a woman in her late eighties or so, passed away a short time ago. She was a strong woman, but fought many battles. Among them was jaw cancer, bone structure issues brought on by osteoporosis and other things related to age. I want to pay tribute to her in the best way I can.

First and foremost, she taught me a lot about life itself, proud moments, not so proud moments, whether in the facilities or walking or riding a bicycle or motorbike or motorcycle for the first time. She was there watching all of us kids through the difficult years we all had. For me, though, there’s one thing I wish I could have said to her in the ten years I left Florida. I wish I could have told her that Catholic school was a wrong choice because of the disadvantages placed on students and prospects with disabilities, both physical and mental. Unfortunately, I don’t know if she understood that Catholic school was out because of the purity myth. I’m a lot stronger than she could have ever thought I would become, but unlike my B Ma, I have a few things I have listed in my philosophy as not possible. One of them is the patriarchal place of women, in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, and having babies. That is not a woman’s place. B Ma would have understood that had she been born at a time when women could dream, but ah well. She was born around the same time as WWII, and grew up the fifties, sixties, and so on. Second wave feminism caught her in the brain, and she still retained her grace and dignity throughout her life. She married at a young age, at a time when girls married young and had babies young. B Ma was named Judith Ann Hebert at that point, and she was born Judith Ann Wade. The Wades were a strong Irish family, and her heritage rings with me more now than ever. St. Patrick could have never guessed this.

As a descendant of hers, I’d like to say that Mrs. Hebert had four children, sixteen grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. I need to see her obituary very soon, and I will share it in the media sphere because guess what? She was a strong woman and didn’t take no bullshit from anyone. As she’d say, “Tough toenails” if you didn’t like something she said. So what? She had a very dominant go-to-hell-with-the-bullshit attitude that women today would still appreciate. My cousin Sarah is a strong woman too, though she had it differently. Sarah and I were born the same year, and both of us were labeled incorrectly as “crazy.” Who cares? My parents tried to rein me in, but they won’t be doing that much at all. My grandmother’s attitude aged with her.

The thing I want and love most about her was fruit salad. She made her best fruit salads, and she did it well. She made it with apples, grapes, oranges, and marshmallows. Yummy. She had walnuts in it, but boy it was her secret and I have to post her recipe somewhere. The family and friends I have currently might appreciate my grandmother and her secret recipes. The one thing she did that was amazing though was well, she cooked. She would cook broccoli and call it “green trees” and she’d cook any kind of bean, but she had “cowboy beans.” I can’t get the thought of her and I talking about the health benefits of beans out of my head, but she was amazing. Yeah, I’ll miss the secrets she’d impart to me about womanhood, love, life, and food. Isn’t that what grandmothers do best?

In lieu of going to her funeral arrangements, as I told the family, I can’t attend such things due to the current travel situation with the pandemic, I’m going to write in this blog. If anyone has any questions, please talk to me. I’ll make myself available for friends who actually give a care to talk about this.

Thanks.

Beth

My Thoughts on the Covid 19 Pandemic

Dear readers,

In light of the situation with #covid19, I’d like to make a few statements. First and foremost, it’s a bad idea to socially distance yourself if the people involved are deafblind. I have a few friends like that who are hearing impaired and blind at the same time. Comorbidity is a problem in the disabled community, and this includes blindness and mentally psychotic symptoms. This also might include the three misinformative diagnostics tests that rendered me unable to work. However, the comorbid disabling conditions cause a lot to happen. In the disabled community, you might have a lot of depression, and the major depression that might need medication and therapy to cope is something that must be covered right now during #covid19. The reason? Sports and entertainment venues are shuttered, only libraries are open, but not everybody is bright enough to read or want to read a book. Some books are complete word salads, including the book about Jillian Eperly’s Jilly Juice protocol. Of course, there are right wing conspiracy books that I would never recommend because they are a word salad with too much to unpack. The Bible might be a book of wisdom, but the first few books hurt LGBTQI+ individuals, and I’m not about to recommend a book that says only a man and a woman can marry. Ugh.

Here are some books and things to do I’d recommend for passing the time in the #covid19 times we’re facing.

 

  1. Play games and card or board games with your family and friends. If you guys are all in the clear, please sit down and play some games. Uno is one such game, and I love playing it on or offline. You can also play board games like Candyland, Monopoly, and so many more. If blind, I would recommend playing the Braille versions of board games and such.
  2. Do not watch the news. But try watching a comedy like the Marvelous Mrs. Meizel, available on Amazon Prime video. You may have to pay a bit of money for it, but it is worth watching.
  3. Read the following books: The Handmaid’s Tale, the Testaments, all books by Anne McCaffrey, Margaret Peterson Haddix, or perhaps a thriller by Robin Cook, except for Contagion. Don’t get too freaked out about viruses but if you want to see a parallel between #covid19 and Cook’s novel, watch the movie Contagion. You’ll understand what I’m talking about, so watch Contagion, but if you insist on reading the book, read it too.
  4. You can also make your own food instead of going out, but that’s a given. You can order, unless you don’t have the money to, pizza and stuff like that. Note that if you buy me a pizza, I refuse any offer of pepperoni and sausage because my father would force all us kids to eat the crap while we had to be under his sorry roof. I won’t be eating that stuff anymore, and neither will I eat salad with Italian dressing. Don’t even send that to me as a joke, just don’t.
  5. You can play sports games on your gaming console, so that might help with depressing entertainment ratings. Of course, the economic impact of this virus is awful. This country could go to the dogs if we don’t stand up and do something to keep the ones who can’t running.

There are some guidelines I’d like to mention about #covid19. This will help your immune compromised friends and loved ones.

 

  1. Wash, wash, wash your hands, wash your hands with soap. Dry them out and let them sit, under the cool dry air. I’m not kidding. Do scrub like you haven’t scrubbed at all, but my mom jokingly would say it’s like preparing for surgery. So what? Just do it.
  2. Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze. Take your temperature if you have flulike symptoms.
  3. If your temp is over 99, stay at home. Don’t go anywhere, don’t try to do something stupid as my high school athletics director used to say.
  4. Read the books and watch the movies recommended above. Try not to laugh too hard. If you are hospitalized, do make sure you have a way to visit your loved one through the glass, but social distancing is not allowed for deafblind individuals.
  5. For Health care workers, wear gloves, masks, and gowns that don’t let the virus in. In other words, wear a Hazmat suit. Whatever. Whatever uniform you need, wear it. If you’re wearing gloves, great. But if you’re blind and want to try wearing gloves, trust me it’ll be like blindfolding a sighted person.

Be prepared for the corona virus outbreak with these guidelines and you’ll be fine. Please be respectful when commenting on how you are coping with this thing, and don’t get too overboard.

Sincerely,

Beth