Thursday, February 9, 2012

That They Might Have Joy

Dear Grandma;

There are people we take for granted in our lives, people who are amazing and wonderful but who are always so amazing and wonderful that we forget to appreciate them. I know I took you for granted. I assumed everyone had Grandmas like you; Grandmas who were at every special event, Grandmas who called on every single birthday or anniversary, Grandmas who organized talent shows and sing-a-longs. I always loved you - but sometimes that love felt like trying to catch feathers in water. I felt that I almost knew who you were and what you really felt, only to have you slip around my fingers. Sometimes I wanted to tell you to stop, to let me really talk to you, to let me be me - both good and bad. But you didn't want to see the gray shades of those around you, you just wanted to see the white. And sometimes that made me angry and frustrated and I pulled away.

But then it happened. The stroke that broke your body. Driving to the hospital that night, I felt the grief. And the regret. That I had been too judgmental; that I had not listened enough; that I had not helped enough. But as I watched you struggle to make peace with what had happened, I realized something - because you had only seen the white in me, those things didn't matter to you.

And something amazing happened. I got to see the real you. The you that was madder than hell that you couldn't get up and do exactly what you wanted to do. The you that liked living. The you that mouthed the words to your favorite songs as we sang them. The you that had a sense of humor that cut through the pain. The you that looked up at Cassie and I from the hospital bed and called us your beautiful girls.

Your clarity surprised us all. One night I arrived thinking that you would be so close to leaving, and you opened your eyes and told me to take the telephone table. That we had worked on it together - such good memories, you said. You said that Jack looked like Grandpa and that you loved it when Cole sang Twinkle Little Star to you. That I looked beautiful on my wedding day. And as the tears dripped down my cheeks, I agreed with you.

Now you are gone, and the normal routines take over. I miss you, and I know I'll miss you even more in the coming days. But I learned so much from you - how to be kind, how to be industrious, how to love music, how to be a mother. I've started playing the piano again - because that's what you wanted me to do, and it feels like you are close when I do.

I'll love you always, and will be so glad that the boys were able to know you. I won't be able to see a musical again without thinking of how much you would have loved it...and how you might just climb over the row of seats to get where you want to be.



Lili said...

I'm so sorry Danielle! That was a beautiful post. Losing a grandparent is so hard. Let me know if you need anything!

Cassie said...

Way to make me cry at work. :)

Grandma was a lovely lady, but not without imperfections. I liked how eloquently you explained a complicated but loving relationship. In the end, it doesn't really matter. We loved her. We miss her. I will always treasure our last 10 days together. Especially that Saturday in the hospital.

She has always been example of how to live a life. And a hell of a looker! Lovely tribute, Yell. I love you, and I know Grandma did too. Gray or not.

Nancy Allen said...

You made me cry...and put into words so beautiful your feelings for my Mom. You were always so special to grandma because it took so long for your to come to us, but it was so worth it. I think we all are better knowing her. Thanks. Love, your Mom