Your Journey with Me
by Carmen H Gray
When you were growing inside me, your Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather both left this world on the same day.
I witnessed my mother’s mother’s exit, standing close to her and holding her hand. I looked into her fearful eyes and I said in my mind, “Let go, all will be well,” for she had reservations and was sad she would miss meeting you here. She acquiesced. Family gathered around her in the room my mother had lovingly created for her final resting place. We sang Amazing Grace to her spirit and my mother cleaned her body before calling the hospice staff. Her body was tiny. It was a beautiful and proper Tejano good-bye, with song and expression. I was filled with many emotions, but the time to release them had to be postponed, because that same afternoon, my father’s father was also leaving and we all journeyed to his home next.
When we arrived, he was in the room where I had often played with dolls and my cousins as a little girl. His wife was sitting next to him, holding his hand, and reassuring him of his peaceful journey. She had always been the soothing force in all of our lives. Most of my aunts and uncles and many of my cousins were all there. Some, with their own children. I watched my father cry and saw the tears of many of my aunts and uncles. Some of them more English proper (stalwart, private in the emotional realm) than others, as that was how they had been raised. When he left that afternoon, the house was burgeoning with loved ones and neighbors. As I sat in the kitchen, holding my little cousin Claire on my lap, I felt the first butterfly movements of you.
Five months later, you arrived. You came a whole month earlier than you were supposed to, you couldn’t wait to join everyone here. And you came just days before your Great Grandfather’s November birthday, as if you were saying to us all, “He is with me”.