The Bridge


I was five years old at the time.

I have this memory of traveling with my parents to Detroit to visit my great-grandmother “Mimi” who was dying. I remember the place she was in; it might have been a hospital but all I can remember of it is a long hallway that was dark and very quiet the way that old mansions are. Her room was at the end on the left and she was in the bed closest to the window and divided from the rest of the room by a curtain. Beside the bed was a commode which at the time both fascinated me and frightened me for some reason. On the wall at the foot of her bed I remember there being a large framed painting in dark colors. I don’t remember what it was of but I had the sense that it belonged to Mimi and that it had been brought to her room to make it feel like home.

Mimi was my father’s mother’s mother but to me she was an old lady who was not distinctive from any other old lady that I’d ever met. She had short white hair that was very fine and she didn’t leave the bed the whole time we were there.  I think we stayed for a while: I imagine that she spoke with my parents at some length. When I got bored my father brought me over by the window to look out to keep me entertained. It was getting to be twilight and from the window I could see a river and a bridge made up of a series of arches and Dad pointed this out to me as being special in some way. I asked if we would get to go across it and Dad said maybe someday, we would have to see.  It looked something like this:

We left Mimi’s room not long after that and I remember being relieved that I could relax and not have to be quiet anymore. My parents might have gone back to visit again after that, but I never did. I was told a while later that Mimi had died and I think it was my first encounter with death in a concrete way even though I wasn’t there at the time. That’s all, really- I just thought I might as well write about it before I forgot.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 29, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Bridge”

  1. G-This little vignette of memory was lovely. There are thousands of them, we all have and it triggered some for me as well. Children’s memories and thoughts have are full of wonder and feeling, your story sounds like a watercolour to me, a watercolour memory.

    You are always so thoughtful, G, and I appreciate it from your coffee in the morning to your composure when dealing with so many things at once, to your multifacited creativity and your gentleness. You are a big plus in a tough occupation. Thanks, girlie.

  2. May I just say tht your friend Ilene phrased it so beautifully to compliment you! Indeed, those little treasured pieces of our early thoughts come floating back to us on little cloud wings out of nowhere it seems.
    they’re always little pieces to put a smile on our face and to tuck away again in our special spot for wonderful things!
    thanks for sharing! Love, Judy

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