Wednesday, July 8, 2009


This is my grandmother (my mother's mother) and me circa Christmas 1982 (notice the date helpfully written in the corner of the picture? Thanks gram!). I was seven. She had already been a widow for nearly five and a half years after my grandfather's sudden death. She was the only grandparent I ever knew.

She died three years ago today, just over a month before her 87th birthday. I think maybe that's why I've been in a bit of a funk the last couple days. Our unconscious holds onto these memories even when we're not aware they're being held.

My parents and I lived with her from the time I was about two and half until I was about four and a half (give or take a couple months on either side). I wish I could tell you I remembered that time, but I don't. I was too young.

I do remember going to her house after school or maybe it was before I was old enough for school and my mom would drop me off at her house before she went to work. Grandma would make me a snack of buttered (or was it margarine?) saltines. We would play games or I would build with the lincoln log set that was missing a lot of pieces or I'd play with the mini cast iron stove she always kept on the low shelf in the kitchen right next to the tin of cookies. We would go for walks up the hill behind her house. That's where I got to pet a deer one afternoon when we were collecting milkweed pods so she could make pine cone angels to sell at the church fair.

As a teenager and adult I didn't spend much time with her. Like we all do, I always figured there'd be more time, she'd always been there so she's always BE there. I didn't write enough and I never called. I never knew what to say and I hate the phone so it just never happened.

Now though I wish I'd asked her what it was like for her when Poppa was off fighting "the war." Or what her parents were like. Or why she became a teacher. She was our family historian and did write down some family stories, but I wish she'd written more, written it all. And I don't even know where the ones she did write are now. I think my mom might have them.

Last night I think she came to me in a dream. This is the first time I've dreamed of her maybe ever, but certainly since her death. I've dreamed of being in her house, but she's never been in the dream itself. I like to think it was her in my dream last night not just my subconscious reminding me of the anniversary of her death. She looked about the age she'd have been in this picture, maybe even a little younger. And she looked happy. I saw her smile and heard her laugh. I just hope she and Poppa are together now. She missed him terribly. As much as I wish I'd spent more time with grandma, I wish I'd gotten a chance to know Poppa, but I was only two when he died and I don't remember him at all. He was quite a character from the stories I've heard.

Today's lyrics come from History of Us by the Indigo Girls. I have a long standing love for the Indigo Girls and have been on a kick recently listening to all their albums on shuffle on my iPod (which caused an interesting repeat of songs today when it played different versions of the same song one after the other, but I digress). Also, I can't find a video to link to for this song other than a cover by someone named Bev and that's not what I'm going for here. Try typing "History of Us" into the Youtube search. Know what you get? A lot of videos about the history of the United States. Not what I'm going for either.

So we must love while these moments are still called today
Take part in the pain of this passion play
Stretching our youth as we must, until we are ashes to dust
Until time makes history of us

1 comment:

Kim Kenney said...

I had a dream about my grandmother the other night too. I know mine was sparked by the grandmothers in the book I'm reading, one of whom has Alzheimer's (which is what my grandmother died from).

She was happy in my dream too. She had closed down the road in front of her house and built a low, cement fence. She was planting a garden in the ENTIRE front yard, including the road! She was wearing a lavender short sleeved pantsuit, with a purple and pink scarf tied around her neck.

I've dreamt of my dead grandparents from time to time in the past. I was fortunate enough to have all 4 until after I was 30, but of course, my grandmother was actually "gone" long before that.

I know my grandmother came to me in my bedroom the first night I was home from NY after her funeral. I was full of guilt because I hadn't made much of an effort to see her, and the link was damaged, if not broken, because she was my dad's mom. I "felt" (there's no other way to describe it) yellow all around me, which was her favorite color, and it enveloped my body completely, like a total body hug. I believe it was her way of telling me that she loved me no matter what, and that she understood why things had turned out the way they have...