The woman who named me Jill Amy is dying. She always said it as a single word. She had this pile of red hair and I grew up thinking her one of the most beautiful women I knew. My grandmother taught me to whistle. And when I was a child, she hit me with switches. Southern as Huck Finn.
She had a bright mind and overcame many of her prejudices. Not the one about gay people. Not the one about me, but I got a text yesterday morning that she loved me more than I knew. And that is probably true, though it makes little difference now. I don’t believe in deathbed confessions. I loved the grandmother I knew as a child. And I love the woman who is dying not knowing much about me. She is human, after all, and there’s untold grace for that. For the fact that we are failing all the time. And those of us wanting better fail a little harder than everyone else. We’re trying, in our striving way, to make something else and that requires fucking up. That requires being wrong.
Staying wrong is another matter.
My grandmother is dying and I’m sorry. Sometimes I will be more than sorry, and sometimes I won’t feel anything. She is no saint, and her love has been conditional. She also told me some of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard. And she is responsible for a fearlessness I have about other people’s opinions. It does all of us a disservice to be sentimental. Whatever she was, she is a person first. A remarkable woman. A woman I have loved.