The most important person, so far, in my life is dead. The person I looked up to. Wanted to be. Was delighted by. Spent many hours with. Traveled to exotic locations. Ate dinner with. Drank with. Slept in the same bed with. Is gone. But she is not gone. Everywhere I turn my head, even to my wrist, to my fingers, she is there. In the air I breath. She is not gone. She is not forgotten. She cannot be. She is me.
She has the best long fingernails and I remember their scratching on my childhood back. They were always painted fabulous colors and very long. Perfect. Perfect in her death. I know. I painted them.
She gave me coffee milk when there was the blizzard at the Ottumwa Airport. I would put on my roller skates and roll around in her basement. I'd have Christmas many times over down there. And I'd look over the slides of photos from her travels to Kenya and see people who were long dead. Her brothers who died in the war. Her older sisters. People I would never know, but as my 7 year self was interested and promised to know them in that one instant of viewing through the basement window lights. And I knew them.
She had the best series of last names I have ever experienced. She started Brown, then was Hangen, then Green and finally Young. She died Young at the age of 80. An early age due to mis-management of her hip replacement. A stupid reason she lost her balance.
Many of my memorable times in my life have been with her. And she is the first of my family to die. I have 3 grandparents alive. But none like her. None had the impact that she did. I wake up looking at her furniture. I eat off her plates, with her silverware. My favorite jewels (other than earrings, she never had pierced ears) are hers and I wear them often. The majority of the furniture in my house (and this includes G's stuff too) is her's. Not was hers. Is. Still. Hers. I just happen to be using it right now. And will use it a long time. Use it out I hope, or pass it on. To my brother or maybe some child. And as I have thought of her many times in the past many years as I wrap my fingers around her colored glass plates and goblets: elegant, strong, passionate, vibrant, cultured and outlived life. Even at the end, she wiped her mouth with a napkin. She died in elegant peace. She was at peace and I know how her last moment was spent and the release and acceptance she felt in the next moment.