Sunday, August 9, 2009

Remembering Grams

Tonight my family gathered around the dinner table and celebrated, not my sister's 32nd birthday, but the 7th anniversary of her 25th birthday, because she's fabulous like that. She picked the menu, porcupine balls and twice baked potato casserole. I made the potatoes, but the meatballs I haven't had in 20 years.

They were a specialty of my Grams. She's been with Jesus for 10 years now. Her loss is still deeply felt. As I was serving my children a dish she served me as a child, the aroma alone brought her to the table and tears to my eyes. I miss her.

She is the reason I named my blog Willow Tree; she was my first sanctuary, the tree in her backyard was the image of it.

On hot summer nights like this we used to sit on her front porch in the swing with our coffee cups. Of course I was eight, mine had water, but she always made me feel special. She would scratch my back or play with my hair while the big band music came through the open windows and I wished even then, to stop the clock, draw it out.

She fostered my love of the theater, with Phantom of the Opera. She taught me how to play solitaire, use liquid rouge and that rubbing fresh mint from her backyard in my hands smelled like heaven. She taught me things I didn't know until she was gone; strength that shone like beauty, love so pure it was potent, and because of her, I know the meaning of Grace.

She suffered at the end, Alzheimer's was an ugly, mean, disease that forced us to watch her go for years before she left. I regret not being there for her enough. I regret fearing her disease.

But oh, how merciful God is to me, that He allows me to dream of her; to put my head on her chest again. I've had the best conversations with Grams under the willow tree in my dreams. I wish my children could have known her. I can't wait to make introductions a lifetime from now, in Heaven. But I have told her of them. She knows. And she waits.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)

She returns to us here, in dreams and red patent leather shoes I know she would have loved. In meals and memories we still share. And while she took pieces of my family's hearts with her, she left pieces of her own, with us.... and we are better for it.



Forgotten Katalyst said...

I have no words, only tears. I miss her something terrible too. So much I wanted to share with her and so much I want to ask her. We carry her with us always.

Annette said...

What sweet memories of your Grams! My granny also suffered from alzheimers and yes, it is very ugly.

SuperAunt said...

She was my best friend. The last time I was with her, giving her a sip of water, she said "thank you" in a voice so soft you could barely hear it. I told her that it was me that "thanked her" for being there, loving me, and giving me examples to live by. I carry her with me every day, just above my heart, and to this day, when I get frustrated with someone one, or some thing, I still remember her words when she felt the same way "God Bless them", they had a special meaning to her,and at age 30 I realized what she meant (I;m slow that way, I don't read between the lines well) and now when I express those sentiments, amidst the frustration, a small smile comes to my face. Lov ya, porcupine meatballs yummmmm

Sara@i.Sass said...

What a touching post. Isn't it funny the things we remember. (the mint) Or the dreams we can have of loved ones and it's as if time hasn't gone on...
PS: I'm scared of alzheimers too.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I have no doubt that your grandma is a living force in your life. She has probably sheltered you more times than you know.

Boy Mom said...

That was beautiful.

I haven't been by since you put up your picture. I will have to take a picture of my sister and post it. you two are twinners which means you and I could be sisters.

Sounds like all is well.


RockWallaby said...

Carolynn, you made me shed a tear.
I had a wonderful grandmother too, a true lady who one of our daughters is named after. Jessie was my dad's mother and I wish my children could have known her. Lemonade always makes me think of her, she always had lemondade for us grandchildren. We can only hope we will be remembered so lovingly by our families.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Beautiful tribute, C. This post alone would inspire people to live in a way that they could be remembered like this.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

What lovely memories you have of her. I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's, and yes, a terrible disease that shows no mercy. It's hard to watch someone's life be taken from them like that. *hugs*

Thanks for stopping by!