A year ago today, I lost one of my dearest friends. My grandmother. As the flowers bloom everywhere, as Spring reminds me that the circle of life continues, as I give myself the space to grieve and laugh and cry, as I wish with every fiber of my being that I could hold her hand, as I say with conviction that the pain is not any less, as I cannot believe that I have not talked to her in over a year, as I wish I could rewind and hear her laugh loudly, as I remember that through the grief her death invites me to experience I might be finding myself, I put the words I read at her funeral out into the world once again.
I had some time in the Atlanta Airport to write down a few things that mean Grandma to me. Grandma is:
the smell of Pond's Cold Cream, hummingbirds, walks around her yard as she points out what is growing and blooming, knee-high nylons rolled down around her ankles and cropped pants before they were back in style, cranberry juice, cherrios stuffed with peanut butter to make little tiny sandwiches, stubbornness, jumping on the bed, walks on the beach in the early morning so you could find the best shells, a book lover, always there when I need to laugh, cry and cry some more, chasing each other around the kitchen to put ice cubes down each other's shirts, beautiful, Spring, lily of the valley, forsythia, little notes in the mail, sugar cookies and date pinwheels, sloppy joes, trips to one price clothing, how she always remembers the littlest things you like-for me-warm socks, riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, when I call - Grandpa saying "I bet you want to talk to your Grandma" and then her voice saying "hello," sitting outside in the sun drinking pink lemonade, my oldest friend, crotchety at times but also honest, dependable, and silly and that sense of humor and indescribable strength, a safe haven, my mom saying "your Grandma is a bit of a stinker," so very smart, how proud she is of her children and grandchildren, gardening, the moments when her patience could be infinite - her children may not have seen this but her grandchildren did every now and then, cooking tips, relationship advice, how important the birthdays of others were to her, her amazing memory, her smile. A wife, mother, grandmother and friend. We all have our own memories and these are just a few I could let myself reflect on. I think something we all know is that with Grandma, what you see is what you get. She was always Real and didn't shy away from her convictions.
A Storyperson by Brian Andreas
Landscape of the Heart
It is still so new and all we see is the empty
space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart.
There, there is no empty space and she still laughs
and grapples with ideas and plans
and nods wisely with each of us in turn.
We are proud to have known her.
We are proud to have called her friend.
Thank you Grandma.
Thank you for teaching me and for always, always being you.
Now Grandma, listen closely. Your husband wants you to know how much you are loved. By him, by your children, by your grandchildren, and your friends.
Peace to you my friend.