This week, a dear friend of mine lost her grandmother.
I lost my grandmother ten years ago.
My husband lost his grandmother ten years before that.
Grandmother Number One was named Marguerite.
Grandmother Number Two was named Anna.
Grandmother Number Three was named Cecilia.
One grandmother lived to be one-hundred-and-two. She spent that last year of her life curled in a fetal position, blind.
Another grandmother lived to be eighty-six. She spent the last year of her life not knowing where she was, a feeding tube slurping sea-sand into her stomach.
Another grandmother died shouting at the nursing home attendants. The place where her right leg should have been was the place where they set their black bottoms, instead.
"When you die you got to die!" she said flatly.
The grandmother who was blind grew up in a bordello.
The grandmother who lost her leg chased "the colored" off her property with a hoe.
The grandmother who didn't know where she was traveled halfway around the world to be with the woman she loved.
Two of them died without a wrinkle on their faces. (Beauty is that nurse who comes when you don't need her anymore.)
One of them was married to a wildcatter.
One of them (the racist) was hired to replace a first, dead wife with the same name. (The children hated her.)
One--the one who traveled halfway around the world to be with the woman she loved--died on the morning of that lover's funeral.
They fill the ground, like stars.