Last night I dreamt about Grandpa’s room. His elevated bed was in a jumble, with fringes of worn prayer shawls entangled with the unmade blue sheets. White undershirts were draped over the black wooden closet doors and on the chair, next to his desk, lay piles of blue and gray sweaters. The heavy, handmade desk was stacked with books and one of them, a holy book I didn’t recognize, was still open. Everything was covered by a faint, almost invisible layer of dust, and I felt the urge to clean it all, to put everything back in order. I wanted to fold the clean clothes and organize them in the closet, to launder the prayer shawls and undershirts, and to return the books to their shelves. For a moment I thought, Maybe I should pack all his stuff into boxes, empty the room, and clean it for Grandma. Maybe I shouldn’t let all his things lie around like this, in disarray.
But then I thought Grandma would be mad at me, mad that I touched, that I upset the order of his memory.
In the morning, when I woke up, I remembered that she was dead too.