Dumbass Independent Award

Dumbass Independent Award

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Nonnie...was the only sea of something remotely close to normal in my life. (This is the only picture I have of her...my parents destroyed the rest...I had this one hidden in a secret place and have kept it safely hidden and cherished all these years.)

I'm not sure I retained any sanity after she died.

I've already shared that she and I had the same bedroom...what an amazing gift that was.

But Nonnie did so much more. I know how many girls LOATHE helping out with cleaning up after dinner each night...not me. I stood at Nonnie's elbow with my drying towel eager to listen to her share the story of her life...the love she shared with the grandfather who died fifteen years before I was born, and why her love for him was so rich and complete even though she lived another 30 years after he died, Nonnie didn't even look at another man. She said..."When you've found a love that fills your soul to overflowing anything less would hurt myself and any man I'd try moving on with."

After the dishes, Nonnie would get out the cribbage board, the pinochle deck and regular deck and we'd play card games until it was time for this girl to head to bed and Nonnie to follow so she could read in her overstuffed chair or write the weekly letters she wrote back and forth with her sister, My Great Aunt Louise, in Michigan.

We'd play cards and playful insult and tease each other...

With her, I DID know heaven, here on earth...for a little while..

Friday morning in late April...she and I chattered while dressing, left our room to walk down the hallway and start down the steps to the first floor.

I was right behind her...talking still...always eager to share the smallest thing with her..when she stopped...stood still for an over long second, then lowered herself to the step.

Panicked by this unusual act...I dropped to the step right behind her and in a shaky voice asked her what was wrong...but she didn't respond. Silence...and yet I could feel the waves from her aura reaching back to me nudging up my fear levels. 

I asked again...again she didn't move, didn't respond and I got more and more frightened. I finally screamed out...knowing my mother had to be somewhere in the house...

Mom appeared at the bottom of the steps and looked up. 

There must have been an expression on Nonnie's face that cut through Mom's first drunk of the day.

She left me sitting there with Nonnie...went and called Dr. B.

Dr. B, lived just down the street. I don't know how long it took before He was at the bottom of the steps looking up, his voice gentle, coaxing and his hands moving over Nonnie's frozen to the spot body.

"What's wrong with her? I asked, my voice shaking...(I was not calm...I was not cool...I was not, I think polite...I was scared!)

Dr. B stood after a time, went to the phone...this is back when we had land lines with extensions scattered throughout the house.

Mom followed him...I stayed with Nonnie. I couldn't leave her...I just couldn't.

The ambulance came...I had to let them take her...I didn't want to...but I HAD to...Mom piled me in the car and we followed.

Back in those days you weren't allowed to visit anyone in the hospital unless you were at least 14...I was 11.

I sat in a barreled chair grabbed my legs, pulled them up and began shaking and rocking.


Nonnie had to stay...They wouldn't tell me what was wrong just that she had to stay.

I did the dishes that night like a zombie. I climbed into bed and looked at her empty chair, tears pouring from my eyes.

Somewhere in the night I got up, went into our closet and pulled out one of her pairs of blue canvas sandals, brought them to bed with me, hugged them like they were my long lost Teddy bear...and eventually slept with them still clutched in my hands.

By the time I woke, Saturday morning, they were soaked from the tears I'd shed...pretty much ruined...That worried me...how was I to explain when Nonnie came home that I'd ruined her shoes?

Even as I thought that I knew deep down...nothing was ever going to be the same...


How hard I prayed that night, the next day and night too.

My parents refused to tell me what was wrong with Nonnie, but something in their eyes told me what I already knew...it wasn't just a bad cold.

Sunday...I HAD to get Mom to take me with her to the hospital even if they wouldn't let me in to see her...I HAD to be NEAR her.

Nonnie, I learned had been pretty much in a coma since arriving at the hospital Friday...but oddly while we were on our way int he car to the hospital, she became lucid and repeatedly asked to see me....She  became agitated enough the doctor okay-ed it.

Mom was furious...she'd been in to visit Nonnie the night before and Nonnie's eyes were open and focused...but she did not KNOW her daughter nor did she respond to her...

NOW I'm being let in...but worse...when I entered Nonnie's room she  again got agitated pointing at mom and vigorously shaking her head and pointing mom out...

Pointing at me and with a crook...called me over to climb on her bed.

Mom snarled, but left...Me?

 Scared half out of my wits, I climbed up, lowered my head to Nonnie chest and told her how much I love her, and she can't go...because I need her.

In a voice barely more than a whisper she said..."You are breath of my soul, Child. If I could stay again I would. You must be strong...I stayed this extra time, but the angels are here, and I can't stay behind again. I have shown you how much you mean. Your life will be hard...remember me...you have the strength. I love you child...You won't see me but I'll never be farther than a breath away."

"No, No, NO!!! You CAN'T leave me Nonnie," I screamed.

Two weak, frail arms touched me before my beloved Grandmother slipped back into her coma and I was forced to leave. 

All the way home in the car Mom snapped at me to tell her what Nonnie had said...How could I? She'd said something about staying the last time that I hadn't any clue what that meant...besides I was almost comatose with my own pain.

We weren't home five minutes when the phone rang. 

The pit of my stomach reached up and grabbed me.

Knowing...I left the house and went to the pool to weep from the depths of my heart.

Now I must admit my shame...

I could NOT go to her funeral...I couldn't find enough bravery inside me to handle the thought of watching them lower Nonnie's casket with her dear body into the ground...

so I begged to stay home...where I sat in our room clutching her shoes, running a gentle finger over the silky petals of her African Violets and wishing I could die right then and join her.

Later, Mom and the others taunted me for not respecting Nonnie enough to be at the funeral and grave-sight. Obviously I didn't love her enough they said.

So raw with my own misery over losing the only person who made me feel loved, I bit down on my pain and asked about Nonnie's statement...

That night if I'd been courageous  enough I would have ended my life. I hurt so deeply. 

See I learned 3 years earlier Nonnie had been critically ill and everyone expected her to die then, Oddly I don't remember it...I remember my OTHER grandmother dying when I was eight, but not Nonnie being near death. 

Seems I crawled into bed with her, thinking she was just sick and kept telling her throughout the night that I loved her and would make her better.

Nonnie when she recovered enough, told mom she had to stay for a little longer because she needed to make me strong enough for what the future held...so although she didn't fully recover to the women they tell me she'd been then, she stayed...and gave me the mother I would need teaching me what love really means so I could handle the future she knew was in front of me.

I am in tears as I write this... so I'm going to have to stop soon.

"Nonnie, I am so sorry I could not handle being a part of your funeral, but not a day has gone by in the past 52 years I have not ached to see you, talk to you, and feel your arms around me, just once more."

And on THIS note has I HAVE to finish PART FOUR of my Tribute to Robin Williams...

Again I ask you to help me honor him as he should be honored.

I am donating 100% of the royalties to my short book for the remainder of 2014
LIFE'S JOURNEY in ROBIN WILLIAMS' name for Suicide Prevention.

My Book is only $0.99...so please help me pay tribute the only way I know how.

It's available at MUSE IT UP PUBLISHING, INC

At Amazon.com

And where other fine e-books are sold

All of my royalties for 2014 will be donated in Robin Williams' name to Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK(8255) | suicidepreventionlifeline.org
I think Nonnie would approve.

Love you Nonnie...if you get a chance...give Robin some of the unwavering love living inside you...and help him heal.

He's a winner, Nonnie. He helped keep me sane.


Madeleine McLaughlin said...

How awful, Lin, to lose to one person who kept you sane for years. My heart goes out to you with this pain you've carried all this time. And I'm sure she'd understand why you couldn't come to the funeral.

Meg Amor said...

Aloha Lin.

What monsters your parents were. And how beautiful your Nonnie was. She would have understood exactly why you couldn't go to her funeral. Sometimes these things are just more than we bear. Her spirit would not have been disappointed in you. She understood completely.

What a ghastly upbringing you've had. Thank you for telling your story

Aloha Meg.

Lin said...

Your kindness..both of you is balm to the place I must revisit to do this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.