My brother-in-law's mom passed away this evening. She'd been battling cancer for months and now she's gone. My sister Kelly messaged from Arizona to let me know and afterwards I attempted to calm the sad feelings with perspective. I tried hard to imagine Liz at different stages of her life, as a little girl running through sprinklers in the front yard in summer, as a young woman at her high school graduation, blonde hair, cap and gown, and as a new mother, singing gentle words to a sleeping baby. But I didn't know her then, for any of those moments. I didn't meet Liz until much later, until long after those milestones had been reached and surpassed, and so mostly I thought about my nephew Harrison, Liz's only grandchild, and how, after her sickness began to progress more rapidly in recent weeks, my mom said to me without tears but with a sad earnestness, "Harrison won't have any grandmothers."
"He will always have grandmothers," I told her.
Or maybe I just wanted to.