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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.