Through most of my life I have felt invisible, almost as of I am nothing more than a thread of existence that dwindles in the air. It always amazes me to find out someone thought of me or wondered about me or brought me up in conversation. All my life I’ve felt as if I didn’t really matter that much to most people. I know my brother loves me and my mom and dad and some aunts and some other family and friends, but I have most often felt like it wouldn’t matter if I weren’t here. I try to fight that feeling most of the time because I do enjoy life, but sometimes someone says or does something that knocks one back into a memory that brings them full circle. This week has been that kind of week for me. A memory that ran through my mind so clearly was the first death that meant anything to me. I am lucky I suppose to say that didn’t occur until I was sixteen years old, but then are we lucky to know the sting of death at any age? Perhaps it would have been easier had I known more about it and been prepared. My grandmother Lula, my dad’s mom, died on November 27, 1983. I was sixteen years of age and I felt like my entire world had fallen apart. I remember that Thanksgiving being somber because my grandmother was in the hospital. We had planned to leave the day after to go and see her. My dad didn’t think it wise to try to drive on the holiday itself. The drive to the hospital in Kentucky, I believe it was Lexington (if memory serves), was a quiet one. We arrived late evening and walked into the Cardio ICU waiting lounge where my uncle announced that my grandmother was gone. Not completely though. She had no brain activity and the hospital had to wait for her blood pressure to drop to be able to take her off life support. I stood back from everyone else and watched as they hugged and cried and talked. I don’t know how long went by. I remember my aunt trying over and over again to get me to go see my grandmother to say good bye. I remember thinking so many things. One being that God could not be so cruel as to take her away before I had a chance to marry and give her grand children, or even to know of my graduation. What was there to say good bye too went through my mind as well? If she was brain dead she wasn’t there. I didn’t’ want to. Saturday afternoon I let them talk me into it though. It was the worst mistake of my life and I have regretted it to this day. I went in to find a shell of a woman. She was very thin, not the plump figure of a woman I remembered. There were tubes everywhere. Her eyes twitched and a tear was in the corner of one eye. Her fingers moved. It was extremely confusing in my mind to reconcile that all this was caused by the machines that kept her body warm. We had been told that it could be a week or better before they could remove her from life support so we left for home the next day on Sunday. It was storming outside which suited my mood. We got home to a phone call saying they had removed her so the next day on Monday we made the journey all the way back. We got there late evening. I had never been to a funeral home that I recalled until that day. We walked in to find it full of family and friends and again I kept to myself for the most part. People were laughing and talking and I was just getting angrier by the moment. How could they be laughing when my grandmother lay so lifeless and still in a coffin. It took me a couple of years to realize that they were actually honoring her memory with their laughter and conversation. As is with our custom my grandmother was moved to the church the next night for church services and the following day after that there were church services for her funeral as well. Both days I sat by myself and watched as each person had someone to comfort them and help them through, yet I sat alone and tried to remain strong. I felt invisible. I felt as if I was expected to show some decorum of strength. It's haunted me to my very core to this day and it started a long path of my trying to always appear to be strong and never weak. As of late my more human side has been showing though. I remember back to my grandmothers funeral. I believe that was the only time I ever remember to this day seeing my dad cry. I don't feel quiet invisible anymore though there are days I wish I did. I guess life's lessons just have something else in store for me right now because I feel more like I can't ever get out of the site of people right now than that I am invisible. So which is better? Good question.