Christmas time


As I started brushing the floor, I thought “how useless is this?”, but then I added “you must always be ready for anything to come”.
You must be ready for joy and grief, they may be knocking at the door anytime, and you will have to let them in.

Last year, when I went to visit my family for Christmas, my grandma was doing really bad. My mother told me as I got home, “when you go visit her, you may get a bit shocked, she is not like you have left her”. In fact she couldn‘t talk or move. She had to eat artificially, it was no use to go to the hospital, we all agreed it would have been extra pain and distress for an old suffering woman. We rapidly organized shifts to hold her arm, since she got a needle in all the time. I noticed my parents exchanged the keys of the family mausoleum. While my mom was with her mother, I cleaned the huge living room in our house, waxed the marbled floor, and I hated rituals. My grandma often told me how to settle her own living room, after she would have passed away. It‘s a room in her house which I haven‘t seen often open, I even brought a drawing  of that floor as a study for a project, while I was studying design at university. The ceiling has paintings, the room has two balconies on two different streets. My grandmother used to receive her guests in one side of the dining room, instead. You can access this mysterious living room from my grandfather‘s study or from a “secret door”. I had lunch twice a week with my grandparents as a boy, and after lunch I would go to the study with my beloved granddad. He would show me all sort of things, a picture of her dead baby-sister, a document where the king gave a “honor” to his dad, ancient books with waxed covers, … while the huge portraits of his grandparents hanging on the wall were staring at us. The two-shutters door who led into the huge living door was always closed. From time to time I asked him if I could go in. They would let us kids do almost everything, but we always asked. I would inform them if I had to to go to the toilet, instead of just “going” and walking through the house, i.e.
I loved that living room. Inside there was a small picture of my great-granddad, he was eighteen years old there and he was just starting his law studies. He was a beautiful man, in the picture he was portrayed with a foulard around his neck and at the centre of it a jewel with a stone.

My grandmother couldn‘t go back to her own house. She has explained me exactly where to put the bed, what flowers, but it was not possible. It will be our house.
If it depended on me, I would keep the main door shut and put an end to this farce! I couldn‘t give a shit about people coming to visit, nor would my parents. They would accept the ritual. You are not suffering and I don‘t see why suffering has to be displayed on a big screen. This is sick. I don‘t need your flowers, I don‘t need your condolences, I do not need you there. I would let in those ten people who have lived with that person, the ones who cared. All those coming because you-just-gotta-show-up, would sit on the sofa and look at us. “He must be N., I haven‘t seen him in a lifetime! Oh and… is that the little one?”. You would sit on the sofa and look around yourself. Yes, I do also think that painting is beautiful, my mother has great taste.
While cleaning my mom‘s floor, I was getting angry at all these meaningless rituals who feed society. I shall wear a white shirt that day! When my granddad died my mom wore dark clothes but she wasn‘t wearing all black, thanks god! Let‘s not be ridiculous.
I did it for my mother. In fact a few hours later she actually asked me if I could take care of it, I told her I have already done it.

A couple of days later, my lovely grandmother sang a bit and I still go visit and kiss her. We kiss eachother a lot.

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