September was marked with my gran finally finding her way back to papa after 30 years apart. My mom and I joined her for lunch and she was gleaming, happy, and impressed with my Italian progress. That was the last time she would speak to me. I set up camp at her bed side. The first night, she grabbed me with eyes glassy open, and I made sure she knew I came and that I would return in the morning. The last 3 days of her journey, she was silent and still.
At the end of her journey, family and friends spread across decades came together again - one hugged me goodbye and said, I may not see you again - and the only response I could push out was in agreement. She held together masses of people. When it was time to entomb her, I strained my eyes to see papa back there - way back in the dark, narrow passage, and finally placed my hand on gran’s box, leaving a smeared hand print.