What are three memories that were significant in my childhood? I don’t really remember having a very eventful life really. I know where to start though.

1. Death of my grandmother

Avis Ruth

I know a lot of people are affected by the loss of a loved one. Most people who were young when it happened probably don’t remember it. The thing about my loss is that I wasn’t connected with anyone like I was my grandmother. I was 12 when she passed. I know it’s something easily forgotten at that age, but it wasn’t like “Oh, gramma died. That’s so sad.” It was more like “the light in my life has been extinguished and I’m lost in a world without a hand to hold.” I remember when we started living in Tennessee when I was five and we lived with my grandparents for a while. I slept in her bed. Listened to her on the phone. Watched her do crossword puzzles in ink. I couldn’t help but watch everything she did. I never got to see her do things like she used to when she was more mobile. Old age made her bedridden as time went on. I remember she would go to the kitchen every morning for breakfast. After a while (a few years) she wouldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes I would wake up in her bed and she wouldn’t be there and I would start crying. As I got older I started helping take care of her. I was with her for weeks at a time. I hated going home knowing that no one was there to take care of her. I don’t think I had a regular childhood, but it was my choice. I would pray to the Christian god every night to not let her die. Childish things. One day she went to the hospital and they fucked up when they gave her surgery prep meds. I remember Mom calling. She was crying and said that my grandmother’s organs were shutting down. I knew it was the end. I don’t really remember crying all that much. I’m sure I didn’t, but I missed her. From then on I felt lost and I don’t think I’ve fully recovered. I still have nights where I cry and cry as if to make up for what I didn’t get to do eleven years ago. I still practice what she taught me so long ago: Don’t judge anyone by who they worship or the color of their skin. They bleed the same as you and me. Listen to what they have to say and you just might learn something.

2. Echoing Holler

I grew up in a hollow (what we hillbillies call a “holler”).  My house was surrounded by mountains. I remember yelling loud enough so I could hear the echos. I would do it for at least thirty minutes every time. I have no idea why this sticks with me, but I loved it. I guess it reminds me of how much I loved where I lived. If things were better, I would go back.

3. The Rose Bush

At the edge of my grandparents driveway there was a rose bush sitting on a small hill next to the Baptist church. It had vines growing up this old dead tree and had the small roses that bloomed every summer. My grandmother loved that rose bush. I would play around it and hide from my cousins while playing. The dogs would lay underneath it with me and watch the clouds. All sorts of bees would gather round and hop from one bloom to the other. I don’t really know what the significance is, but when my grandmother died, it stopped blooming. It made me feel like I could let myself get lost in thought. It made me appreciate nature in a different way than most people I know.


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