The Collection

March 1, 2021

My grandmother, Carolyn, amazes me, even beyond the grave. The conversations and the connection we shared remain special to me as we established a special bond.

Growing up with grandma, we walked everywhere. Our long walks I hold onto like crates of precious treasures. Grandma couldn’t drive, and of course, neither did I. Every day we walked, blocks and blocks to and from school. Our Saturday routine consisted of walking even farther to the mall and stopping at the library on the way home.

She knew and appreciated my love for reading. I enjoyed our time spent walking, but as a kid, the routine became arduous and redundant. I was always anxious to get home and read my book or watch my shows. Sometimes, I secretly wished one of her friends would pass by and offer us a ride. The walks were hard to endure because of the New Orleans weather–the humid and scorching summers. The conversations during this journey transitioned with the changing of my age. We went from chatting about episodes of The Golden Girls to dealing with bullies and boys.

The pace of our stride with one another soon changed. We could no longer complete a full walk without her growing breathless. Years later, she suffered a stroke and developed heart issues. We no longer passed the library. I eventually moved away to attend a different high school in 2000. I moved to Tennessee for college in 2005. Despite the distance, my grandmother and I stayed connected through daily phone calls. Some of our conversations centered on the topics of the newest self-help books I had purchased and what she was reading too.

College was tough, being on my own was tough, and homesickness was real. In 2012, my grandmother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. It is like time fast-forwarded quickly, skipping all the other levels, and we quickly there, at the end. It was tough to hear on the phone the side effects of the chemo and radiation treatments. It was bittersweet, but I made the decision in 2013 to move back to New Orleans. When I visited her, I would see her books in a basket piled up, collecting dust in a corner. I never saw her read any of them again. She even dared me not to touch them or take any.

The beginning of 2015 came like a wrecking ball.

I was going through depression when it all started to accelerate, something I didn’t even go through when we were coping with Hurricane Katrina. My grandmother didn’t know about my mental health because she was undergoing surgery for cancer, so I dealt with it silently.

In June 2015, the treatments stopped working, and MRSA took over her body. The doctors released her under hospice care. I’d heard of it before, but mentally refused to associate it with my grandma. The hospice nurse handed me a thick manual to read on what to expect. It was the one and only book I refused to read. Soon, my two-year-old and I moved in with my grandma to better take care of her. Months and months went by, and I eventually had to read the book. She had taken a turn for the worse. In my mind, she was going to survive this, and we were going to be chilling in our pajamas watching The Golden Girls for many years to come.

By October 2015, all hope was gone for our Pajama Jam because she was gone. The entire week I could not eat, I could not think, I slept all day, and wasn’t motivated to do anything. Until I saw those books in the corner. One by one, I sorted through the titles on comfort, trusting, believing, and faith, every topic I was experiencing. My eyes began to fill with tears. The feeling of grief transitioned into that of hope and amazement. I could only feel that this was intentional. I was strong while I witnessed my favorite person lowered into the earth.

I appreciate her so much and showed it to her while she was here. I have no regrets and cherish sweet memories. I have my collection of books, life lessons, and the encouragement she passed on to me. Soon after she passed on, I opened one of the books to a random page. The last sentence read, “In time, we will meet them again.” Until then, I have my most treasured possessions with me in my collection.

 

Jessica Duronslet is a mommy of three and is currently in graduate school for Marketing.

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COMMENTS

I love this, you, and grandma ❀ major people involved in my childhood and i couldn’t expect a better worded truth from my best friend. Love you always Jess

This is so ironic that just YESTERDAY i was Thinking about the time i saw you and your grandmother at Piccadilly’s eating lunch. To read this bRought memories of my grandmother as she went through her transition.

What a beautiful WRITING piece sis, so proud of yOu and your PERSEVERANCE to overcome adversity, love you! 😘

BeaUtifulLy writTen. I teared up because your story RemInds me of my grandpa. Hold those memories, they will carry you through many of life’s journEys.

Beautiful story. I can definitely relate.

ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL!!! How IRONIC as well! Stay strong and focused queen!πŸ™πŸΎπŸ’—I know your mother is beyond Proud!

Reminds me of my relationship with my grandmother. Your essay took me back to those memories, which is exactly what i needed. Thanks for sharing and continue Blessing the world with your work.

Jessica!!! Great Job BOO, I LOVED THE READ, I FELT YOUR GRANDMA’S AWESOMENESS THRU YOUR WORDS, GOD BLESS YOU MY GIRL

AMazing story, I admIred you grandma too

Jess i loved the STORY. Please keep them coming. This was well written about and amazing Lady that loved you as much as you loved her. Blessings to you. We love you dearly

Jessica, this story is depIcted so well. YOur writing style is impeccable!

This was such a beautiful rEad! I am beyond happy for you! Thank you For sharing this story β™₯️

Wow ! This article was not only real , but so relatable, great Job jess ! I’m so very proud of you ❀

This was absolutely a great read!!! I feel and understand so well as I have dealt with the same issues!!! Love u cousin and I pray BLESSINGS over u and your family!!!πŸ₯°πŸ˜πŸ˜˜

This is so beautifully written Jess! So proud of you love!

This IS A VERY TOUCHING ARTICE. THIS ARTICLE BROUGHT ME TO TEars. Keep them coming

***** This was well written Queen! I could feel the love in this Essay simply beautiful! *****

Awesome great job and love it keep up great work

Your ARTICLE was AMAZING, I miss my GRANDMOTHER so much, she was the only one who really underStood me.

This is a beautiful piece Jess! It brought me to tears! I

***** this is well written and beautiful Queen you have a talent and it’s writing.

Your essay was a beautiful read. Reminded me of my relationship with my Grandmother. Thanks for sharing. Always here for you πŸ’•

Omg! I miss her so, Great essay Jessica.

Jessica, this essay brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing this touching story. πŸ’œ

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