My grandmother’s death was exactly how she would have wanted it to happen. She didn’t decline over a long period. It was just a couple days. A few minutes before her death we were all surrounding her, holding her hand, touching her arm, brushing her hair out of her face and all of a sudden her eyes opened wide. She seemed to be looking right through all of us. She was seeing something and whatever it was, it was magnificent. Twice this occurred. At the very end she raised her arms as if she was reaching for something beyond our knowing.
Of the many wonderful memories of Cheers, that’s what we called her, Cheers, my best were the ones I spent at her house as a child. Often she would take me down the stairs to her basement that served as her studio. It was always scattered with pages ripped out of magazines, tubes of paint, a multitude of brushes and supplies, and canvases of all shapes and sizes, some displaying finished paintings and some with doodles and ideas. As soon as I stepped over the threshold entering this space I was hit with the smell of acrylic paint. It was home.
She never told me not to touch things like grownups frequently do to small handsie children. I was free to admire, caress and use anything in that sacred space. She ignited my love for art.
Cheers was a strong woman. A real fighter. Meaning she was real, her own self, not a copycat. It makes sense because art is the most challenging lover. Art cannot be created without vulnerability and vulnerability creates real human beings. It is this process of imperfection that creates vividness and life. That is what I learned from her. I don’t want to be perfect, I want to be real.
Cheers was a true artist, with her painting and the life she lead.
I think a life is well lived when it doesn’t stop. Her spirit carries on in many of us, it’s too beautiful and precious not to. And in that way, she lives. There is simply no need too say goodbye.