Loving, Losing, Remembering, Living.

4 May

There are 4 days a year that I am sort of a mess.

  • The day my best friend died
  • My best friend’s birthday (Which also happens to be my birthday. Yes, we shared a birthday. It’s tough.)
  • The day my great-grandmother (The Queen Bee) died
  • The Queen Bee’s birthday.

Two of these days come right on top of each other, and I just got over that hurdle. The most recent was this past week, the Queen Bee’s birthday. She would have been 93 this year. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and everything she was to me. The Queen Bee took care of me when the Mayor went back to work. I was 3 months old. She took care of me until the day I started school. Saying she played a large part in my upbringing and in who I am today is an understatement.

I try to remember the good times and not be sad, but sometimes, it’s too much. How do you just let the sadness and shitty feelings just fly away? It’s been a couple of years since we lost her now, and while the raw feeling is gone, there is still a hole. We spent a lot of time together. She would cook for me all day, telling me each step along the way. She would make me homemade watermelon juice, complete with watermelon juice ice cubes, so the juice wouldn’t get watered down. (Yeah, spoiled much?) We would watch the Price is Right everyday. She didn’t speak a word of English, so she would call it “El Carro” (the Car) because they always gave away cars. I still get choked up watching that show. At least Bob Barker is off in retirement land, so it isn’t quite the same.

This woman was fantastic.

About 3 years ago, Violet and I took a trip down to our old stomping grounds to visit family and have a little fun before I started cosmetology school. We, of course, went by grandmother’s house to spend some time with her and the Queen Bee. (The fact that we were getting an amazing homecooked meal was just a bonus) Violet was in heaven, not only because of the food, but because the Queen Bee kept calling her “Flaca”. (skinny)

When the Queen Bee got sick, and died a short time later, it actually brought Violet and I back together. We had a stupid spat, and didn’t talk for many months. When I was heading down south to visit the Queen Bee in the hospital, and we knew that her time here with us was drawing to an end, I sent Violet an email letting her know. The Queen Bee would often ask about Violet, and I know Violet was very fond of her as well. Violet emailed me back very quickly, and we worked out our spat at that point.

I attempt (I’m a work in progress) to live my life with no regrets. One regret that I have a hard time shaking.. I wish that my children would have spent more time with her. They have an idea of who she is, and we have many pictures with them as babies with her, but their relationship with her was not at all like mine was. She loved them with all her heart, but, frankly, they don’t have any memories of her. We often look at pictures, and they know who she is, but I really wish there was something more tangible for them to hold on to.

Thankfully, for me, I have so many memories of her. I use the same dish soap she did. The smell reminds me of being in her kitchen and watching her do dishes. I have stacks of cards and gift tags with her writing on them. I took one to the tattoo artist who has done a few special tattoos for me. He was able to enlarge her writing and tattoo it directly on my forearm, along with a line from a song that to this day makes me cry whenever I hear it. It was a song that I listened to a lot while she was sick, For Good, from the Broadway musical Wicked.


Because I knew you,

I have been changed for good.


For the rest of my days, that is on my arm. I look at it often, and think about all the wonderful things she did and said and taught me.


Who has shaped you? Are they still in your life? How do you cope and keep their memory alive if they aren’t?



8 Responses to “Loving, Losing, Remembering, Living.”

  1. "the Mayor" May 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    The cycle of life ……….

  2. Cate Payne May 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    What a beautiful post.

    (Great) Grandmothers can be amazing women.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I, too, deal the same loss and regret. I think, if we live the values that they taught us, our children will someday come to realize what special people they were. And if they search deep enough, they will know them. And know where they came from.

  3. kosherkola May 5, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    What a beautiful tribute to your great-grandma!

    Actually two anniversaries are just coming up: the birthday and jahrzeit of my friend Stuart. He was one of my best friends and also someone who shaped my life. When my son changed his legal name upon adoption, he took Stuart’s Hebrew name as his middle name, because even though Stuart died long before I met my son, they share a lot of characteristics and we do keep talking about him a lot a lot.

    • daisyandviolet May 5, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      That is so sweet! What a great thing for your son to do!


  4. IK May 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I think of my mom’s sister (the one who loved with us) nearly everyday, and it’s been a bit over 7 years now. The sting has gone away, somehow – traumatic as her death was. Now it’s just happy memories.. In every Thai dish i cook, in every story I relate back to her grandkids. All are created with a little bit of that love that she always had bursting out of her.. And for that alone, the world is still better because of her – even though she’s not “here” anymore. The circle of life is beautiful that way. Tragic, sad, full of love and laughter. Intricate, and beautiful. ❤

    • daisyandviolet May 6, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      What a beautiful memory you shared. Thank you! -Violet

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