Eulogy for Elsie Mae

Greg Dennis


We all lose our minds. I'm mad, you're mad, we're all mad.
It starts quietly. A slip of the memory here and,… wait,… where?
Then, after Grandma has to have her car keys taken away, they call it dementia.
Then, when you're asked to leave school to help care for her, it's called unfair.
And then, when all the names and memories have left her mind, they call it hopeless.

Memory is best preserved through repetition.
Memory is best preserved through…
Then, just like that, it's over.
Just a few words.
And you feel guilty.
Just a few words are all you have to say, they tell you.

So you stand in front of a crowd of sycophants and "who-the-hell-are-yous" and you muster the only words that they deserve to hear:

"She was a great woman. I loved her a lot."

And afterward when they all gather downstairs to eat potato salad and challenge each other over who misses her the most.

Her and I this
Her and I that
Oh, I remember when

Then a woman, you've seen her before and heard stories of her before, approaches you and says coldly:

"You should feel ashamed. Do you think that's what she would have wanted you to say?"

But you don't. In fact, you feel proud because you know you're about to say what she really would have wanted you to say:

"You're a bitch."

And because memory is best preserved through repetition, you say it again:

"You're a bitch. You're a bitch. You're a cold-hearted bitch."

And you turn to walk away without one scoop of potato salad, one piece of pickle loaf on rye bread, one stale cube of a Rice Crispy treat, or one cup of bitter coffee. You pass on the forced sob stories and head to your car to go somewhere that's more real, because that's what she would have done.

That's the real eulogy of Elsie Mae. And you did her proud.

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