But before I do, a note: The date on my last entry makes me cringe. December 2012. That's two and a half years ago. And not two and a half uneventful years, either. A lot has happened. Some of it will unfold as I reflect and recall the experiences of this last year. And some things will get neatly summed up (in listicle form) in the footnotes. Or what I'm calling the footnotes at the close of this post.
My Gram passed away the last day of March 2014. Along with losing the sole person (other than my sister) who served - admittedly - as my "ace in the hole" my entire life, out went all of the joy I had in me. Out also went most of the worry I carried, about her, her worsening condition, and most of the pain of knowing the Gram I had cherished, emulated and thought - no believed - had hung the moon and the California sun, was now different and sometimes unreachable. But to be fair, sometimes she was right there, and we'd fall into conversation like we always had. Out when that worry and that pain. In came a new pain, that felt permanent.
I'm not sure there are words fit to fully describe Gram. She was one-of-a-kind. And it only took meeting her once for most people to be sure of that. I knew it when I got old enough to understand what that expression truly meant.
Growing up I had two, loving, strong Grandmas that couldn't have been more different. Or so I thought. As I matured, I understood they were actually more similar than my 7, 10 or 15 year-old-mind knew - or saw. And I treasure that. But Gram, man, she was truly unique. When she walked into the room you knew it. You felt it. She brought the California sunshine - something I would come to know was invaluable - everywhere she went. She had the deepest, truest sense of self and taught both my sister and I to know ourselves, what we stood for and where we wanted to go. She also gave us the taste for the good life. That's to say living well, loving hard and singing loud - preferably to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack in a red sports car.
I got to spend Gram's last hours on earth with her. I got to hold her hand and kiss her goodbye. To reminisce some, and try even though I was scared, to look forward. In those moments I've never felt such pain. But I've also never felt such selflessness, or such a commitment to someone else, to their comfort, their pain, their joy, their fears, their life. I've also never felt closer to or surer of God. And then she was gone. And I had to say goodbye.
That next week was unbearable. Even when you know the ending, it's hard to not be in shock. Not shocked that it happened, but shocked that your person is gone. Shocked the world is still going. Shocked you're still going. On top of the shock is pure grief. And that's the hardest to get through.
Right about this time my sister was approaching her due date. She and E were pregnant with their first child. And we couldn't wait. Not due for three more weeks, Baby Bean decided to come early - just a little over a week after Gram passed.
Samuel Davis Fletcher was born on Saturday, April 12th at 7am as the sun was rising over the Charles River in Boston. And he brought with him so much joy - all of the joy. And while the pain didn't disappear, it was no longer impenetrable.
The day before I had hopped a flight to Boston after getting a call then a text then another call from E that sissy was in labor: Baby Bean was on the way. I arrived and joined my favorite two in the delivery room. That night - the last as the people we were then - was spent listening to a playlist filled with songs from their past as young lovers, as a married couple, as children. Songs that meant so much to us as a Trifecta; to me and kbf as sisters, to our family. This was the music that was to welcome that baby into the world.
We had a long night ahead of us. kbf's labor was progressing slowly. We were told to rest. Once the baby was ready, we would need to be ready; to be strong. E and I took turns trying to sleep but it was all so exciting. And I didn't want to close my eyes - I didn't want to not see them...or speak to them...I needed them. I did manage to drift off for just a few minutes. When I woke I saw my brother-in-law seated beside my sister, holding her hand, singing Copperline by James Taylor. And though there were tears in my eyes, my heart was filled with joy and love. Love for this man who loved my sister with his whole heart, and was now my brother. Love for my sister bringing a child into the world. Love for us as a Trifecta. Love for the baby that was about to join us. I knew I was witnessing the real thing.
There would be no more sleep that night - morning by that point. At 5a.m., Kelli's doctor showed up and we were ready to push. Two hours later (now one year and two weeks) my beautiful nephew joined us.
And my world changed.
Samuel Davis Fletcher, April 12, 2014
*les footnotes: shuttered george PR in january 2014, began a new job in january 2014, paris once - no twice, launched an airstream, met an nc guy that was good but not great, decided what I really want to do (just wait), took a much-needed trip to miami, fell back in love then out, then in love again with nyc, continue to live the east village life.