Friday, August 10, 2012

Goodbye, Margot

Today was Ecuador's Independence day, and And out of all things, I decided to go to the cemetery to visit my grandmother.

Inappropriate thoughts walking in:
 - Why not nick a single flower from the nearby graves and take some of the still-growing-ones around the field and put them on the grave? They'd be more of them and look nicer together.
- How long does it take for a body to decompose to the point of just bones? (begin counting down years by each stone that is passed--the earlier the death date, the less likely those random, useless chemicals to preserve the bodies were used)
- How do graverobbers even operate in this cemetery? The stones are too close together, so digging must be a pain, and there's so many dead that they're either burying them vertically and pulling them out to search for treasure would be a hassle, or they're all on top of each other, so you can't really get to all of them.

Thoughts on seeing grandmother's grave:
I have no clue why my aunt and her husband started pulling out the weeds and plants growing around the stone. They seemed genuinely annoyed at the fact that A BUNCH OF LIVING THINGS were emerging from the ground in which my grandmother's body could provide nutrients to. So their response was to kill said living things because...they...don't look pretty? Why pull out the weeds and reassamble the stone? Why not let the plants grow out and inside and around, breaking the stone and swallowing it whole, finally letting the last bits of the person fade back into the earth for forever? All I could think the whole time they yanked out the plants was let her go. Please, let her go.

While at the grave, my aunt thanked me for having told my grandmother stories when I was little. She said I was always inventing something or other for her, and since great-grandpa Victor had too been a story teller, I guess she was happy that skill reappeared in a grandchild. I was silent for most of the time my aunt was talking, because I didn't remember, and counting down, I was four years old when grandma Alicia died. I don't know how I was telling her stories back then, but I hope my aunt is right. I hope that made her happy.

Thoughts on seeing Margot's grave:
This was unexpected. After we bought the flowers, my aunt asked me to give her just a handful to put in her sister's grave. I'd forgotten about the possibility that Margot and my grandmother may have been buried in the same cemetery since Great-Grandpa Victor (whom I couldn't go visit) wasn't there. After cleaning the stone and butchering the nearby plants, Margot's grave was a brownish-yellow color with the letters fading slightly. the tips had broken due to the weeds inside. I counted down her birth and death, so she was nineteen when she died in 1972, and then it is exactly a year later that my father was born. With the dates in mind, I also realized why my grandmother's last pregnancy was so complicated--she was 41 at the time. And after having children after children since she was 14-15 and a barely existent nutrition, it's no wonder her and my dad almost didn't make it.

I don't believe the dead can hear us or that they're still with us, or whatever, but I found myself strangely speechless standing in front of her. Like I needed to say something specific, or think or feel something specific, but I couldn't. I didn't know, it made me feel thankful, angry at myself, numb in some ways, melancholic in others, and a certain detachment that stemmed for having never known her, as well as a saddness because of that same reason. It's not like you can go ahead thinking I'm sorry you died, but since you did, I guess thanks since, you know, my grandmother was so pain stricken she went through with a horrifying pregnancy in the belief that you would be reborn, only to have my father be brought into the world. That's just a little more than sick. Which is usually where the anger comes in--I should not be even considering being thankful, because there's nothing to thank. She died. She died because my grandfather left them at that beach and couldn't help save her. She died because my grandmother had six other children to look after. And she died so young, barely three years older than current-me.

But I can't really feel utterly heart-broken at the whole thing because, as much as anyone wants to say otherwise, my grandmother would not have had another child had she not died. I feel sad at her passing, and yet I can't ask for an "I wish this wouldn't have happen. I wish this wouldn't have caused them so much pain." because if it hadn't, then neither me, nor my father, nor my brother would exist. My mom would have married someone else, or maybe she would have stayed single as her friends did, so would she have been happy? More so, less so?

I think when I went to the house a few days ago, that was why that strange, eerie feeling hit me. As much as I missed those things, they're just things, and it's so silly to attach meaning to crap that can't feel, can't think, can't grow, can't change, can't die, can't live, can't do anything. It doesn't pain me to leave it all behind again. What it makes me do is start imagining all these what-ifs that had never been so detailed before in my mind. And they're not painful to imagine, but they do make me examine what I am right now. What would I care about, how would I view the rest of the world? How much would be different if I just wasn't here? Right now, all this crap I care about like university and bills and my imminent future just seems so utterly insignificant to who I am right now, or who I might have been.

I know a lot of people go around thinking things like that, but I have never had the chance to properly and semi-accurately piece different futures and pasts together. Times where I wasn't here, or I was someone else. And I can't thank Margot because she deserved to live, but I can't wish for her to have lived because, as selfish as it is, I kind of really like existing, and I can't be sad because I didn't know her, and I can't feel anything else because nothing is right and everything is wrong.

So in the end, I just nicked a few blue flowers and laid them in the broken parts of her stone when the others weren't looking. And I decided I might as well say goodbye to her too, even though I never really had a chance to say hello.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.