I started writing this several times, but never felt like I could finish it. Then I realized that I can never finish it, so I’ve decided to just put it out there before too much time goes by.
Sitting in church a few weeks ago, I realized that I haven’t seen any Jolly Rancher candy recently (not just in Budapest, but in the states either). Perhaps it’s because I never go down the candy aisle, or because I never looked for it, but I got a little nostalgic. I thought, “I bet Grandma and Grandpa would know where to get Jolly Ranchers.” And then I realized, yet again, that I will spend the rest of my life without my Grandma Lucille.
I’m going to miss her sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, her water bottle, her fishing vest, and catching her lip on my hook. At the very beginning of my mission I remember distinctly thinking that I wanted to go fishing with her and Grandpa again. I didn’t do it. I wish I knew more about her childhood. It wasn’t a happy childhood and she didn’t like to talk about it despite our efforts to get her to.
She died just right after Rachel and I decided to tell people we were pregnant. When she got sick just before she died I was hoping to call her and tell her. Unfortunately, I was too late. I think that’s my biggest regret in the whole affair. I think it would have made her happy in the last few hours of her life. I’m just glad that she got to see her first great granddaughter a few times, though I’m sad my daughter probably won’t remember her.
Other people in my life have died, but most haven’t been that difficult for me. In fact, I often feel guilty for not mourning as much as I feel I should. But occasionally someone dies who I can’t stop thinking about: my high school bus driver Barry who committed suicide, my high school chemistry teacher Mr. Kolski, and a man from church who’s name I don’t even remember but who said hi to me just before he died. But none of them has caused the same emotions as my Grandma.
For some reason I have had a difficult time grieving. It seems like I have no way to express what I’ve been feeling. I couldn’t go to the funeral, I couldn’t even talk to any family face to face. I was desperate for some action to perform, so although she would not have approved I went to Szent István Bazilika and lit a candle for her. She was raised Catholic and because of her experiences did not have much affection for it. Nevertheless, I felt that I had to do something physical to show that I cared and to acknowledge that I would miss her.
I used to be proud that the Mormon church doesn’t have much in the way of ritual, but as I get older I often wish the church had a little more ritual. It gives us a constructive way to express our feelings when we are too confused to know what to do on our own. Lighting a candle made me feel much better even though I don’t believe it did much good (and I don’t even understand what it’s supposed to have done). I hope she can forgive me.