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My Own Voice From My Own Past

My Own Voice From My Own Past

By Iris Ruth Pastor

My granddaughter came to visit while my son was running for mayor. Looking closely around my library, she spotted a framed picture of two pieces of notebook paper.

“Nana,”
she inquired curiously, “why do you have something framed that is so faded it can no longer be read?” I peered closely and anxiously at the picture. She was right. My seventh grade essay written in ballpoint pen over sixty five years ago was barely legible.

I panicked. Were my words lost forever?

Immediately I took the picture down and stashed it in a dark closet – protecting it from further deterioration until I could examine it more closely.  This morning, with the aid of my cell phone light and a magnifying glass, I painstakingly transcribed the words onto my computer screen for posterity. I printed the essay out and glued it to the back of the picture.

My essay is as follows:

From where I stood gazing out into the September sky, I could hear her gasping for breath. Beads of perspiration stood out on her forehead and lips – like icy rain stands out on a freshly washed window. Her pain-stricken body lay lifelessly on the wrinkled sheets except when stricken with spasms of pain. Her skin was pale with a bluish cast. New wrinkles had appeared on her uncluttered brow, new gray streaks in her once stark black hair. I couldn’t believe this woman who had fed me a bottle when I was an infant and comforted me when I was a small child, was now in need of my comfort. How could it be possible that this woman, who I had idolized and relied on all my life, was dying? I could accept the fact that my parents would die eventually, even my younger sister and brother would pass away as would my friends and relatives in the future. But this woman? My mind could not comprehend the fact that death would strike her.

This woman could not die. How would I live without her? My problems were solved by her keen mind, my fears whipped away by her soothing voice. When I achieved goals, received high grades, accomplished what I had set out to do, who did I want to share my triumphs with? Who came to mind immediately? It was always she as long as I could recall. Her appearance may grow dim and gradually fade from my mind. I may forget the pitch of her mild voice, the touch of her soft hand, but I would never forget her. She’s everything I am now and everything I will ever be. She is the backbone of my spine.

Soon it would be dawn. The frightening black of night was already transforming itself to dismal gray. Soon the gray would vanish and the sun would burst forth in an array of color as do fireworks on July the Fourth. A new day would begin bringing forth new life, new adventures, new memories. An old life would end.

It was close to four o’clock when the final spasm struck her. After it, she lay limp on the damp linens. Numbly I watched life flowing out of her worn-out bones. Her face was tired. Her body feeble, but the look in her eyes was as serene as velvet. Silently her eyelids closed. My grandmother

I was seven years old when my grandmother died at age fifty-five from pancreatic cancer. I wrote this story in seventh grade, receiving an “A.” Of course, my high grade didn’t make up for her loss, but fifty-nine years later my written recollection helped answer the question of why I continue to miss her so intensely every day.

This post was originally published by Iris Ruth Pastor and reprinted with permission.

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Iris Ruth Pastor is an aging baby boomer, wife, mother and grandma. She is the author of the book The Secret Life of a Weight-Obsessed Woman - Wisdom to Live the Life You Crave . Along with being a successful author, Iris also writes a column entitled “Incidentally, Iris,”. As well as writing, Iris also spends time delivering motivational speeches on all topics related to mid life and baby boomers. Iris is available to speak on a variety of topics, focusing on self-help, self-improvement and self-empowerment and is currently delivering a talk on The Secret to Living Happily Ever After.