My grandma C’s death visited me in a dream a few nights ago. In it, I got a phone call that she had just died and I cried and cried in my sleep – wishing that my girls had gotten to know her – that I had visited her more recently. It’s so fresh in my mind and I miss her terribly – a fresh sorrow for her presence fills me.
Grandma C was a warm and comforting person. She was welcoming to anyone – all different types of folks were present nearly every time we visited, and definitely on holidays. Her home was never a perfect showcase – but it always smelled so good – either from the food she was cooking (those enchiladas!) or from her soaps and perfumes. Hugging grandma brought her love to physical reality – she was short and a little cushiony – arms enveloping with such warmth. Her giggle was infectious and mischievous and she had a twinkle in her eyes when she laughed. I remember her ability to play down any health issues (a true warrior!) – heart surgeries, insulin needles, wigs, dentures, prosthetic breast – were all out in the open and not hidden – she wasn’t embarrassed by them. It was all part of life. She didn’t expect people, or life, to be perfect. She was also a survivor of domestic abuse and yet it did not diminish her spirit. She just loved, worked hard, and kept accepting each new day. She was very entrepreneurial – making custom draperies and heat resistant gloves – in her own sewing “factory” (a converted garage on her property). The times she attempted to share with us how it all worked were a treat. I was especially fascinated by how the black light crayon used to mark the fabric lit up so magically! Her life was never easy, but then again she never for a moment expected it would be.
I miss the Easter egg hunt extravaganzas – the candy dish – the string cheese in her fridge… I miss when she pulled me aside to tell me one-on-one that she thought I was amazing. I miss how she brought our family together. It’s interesting who we idolize in the world – it’s rarely the simple people who share their love with those around them in big and small ways. These people are heroes though – they make a difference in people’s lives. They create memories to be cherished and they bind together families. Treasures. Perfection amongst imperfection.
Her death feels fresh to me right now – tears flowing – memories flooding in. In actuality she passed 25 years ago today – but in my dream she left me all over again. Or maybe she came to visit me with these memories so that my perspective could shift. I can take her example and do my best to live NOW – enjoying life in this moment in its lovely imperfection. Accept people – exactly as they are. I love you grandma C. Thank you for being a great teacher to all those who were blessed to know you. (Maybe can you come back again and share that enchilada recipe with me?)