I’m sitting in a train from München to Venezia, across from a woman who resembles my maternal grandmother in shocking ways. The long straight nose, the pale blue eyes, the short permed hair, even the wrinkly skin and laugh lines. She’s wearing trousers and “stockings” (those awful nylon ones) with a cotton shirt, just like my Grandma did. The grandmother who practically raised me–who taught me how to make popcorn on the stove, with sugar that made a ball when dropped in cold water (in the absence of a candy thermometer), who baked pie crusts from scratch with me, and who helped pod peas until all our thumbs were green. The grandma that comes to mind when I think of my German heritage–maybe for the once or twice I heard her swear in German, or maybe just for her deep down family values that made her who she was. But also the grandmother who I was too immature and selfish to continue visiting in the nursing home after I moved home from university to find she didn’t recognize anyone, couldn’t hold a conversation, and didn’t even seem to acknowledge our presence. When she died during my first year living in Tanzania, I didn’t even have the decency to try and get time off to fly home for the funeral–I didn’t know yet that that was something I would be allowed to do. But I didn’t try. So now, sitting on a train passing through Germany, I’m sobbing for the grandmother who loved me and my siblings with everything that she was. I miss you, and I’m so, so sorry I never said goodbye.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jody says:

    Oh Abi… Goodbyes are raw and hard, whenever and wherever they may come. *Hugs*

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