In honor of my Grandmother’s Eighty-Seventh birthday, I’m reposting something I wrote about her last October. I guess it just says everything I feel when I think of her.
I love you, Grandma.
“The great white pear-tree dropped with dew from leaves
And blossom, under heavens of happy blue.”
Her name falls from our lips moments before we get home. Like we had summoned her, there she is in the drive, a silhouette waving in the dappled light. My chest fills with that same sun kissed warmth and I smile.
My sons tumble from the car, all hands and arms and bouncing hugs. Her laughter echoes like springtime; dying leaves are confetti in the air. It’s the best kind of surprise, the only kind I welcome.
They call her “Other Grandma” and she is. Great-Grandma is too distant for someone as close and constant as my own mother. She takes their tugs and pulls like priceless coins and pays them back in kind. As they scamper away, her eyes find mine and I am drawn into timelessness. My own tumbling hugs and grubby childlike fingers clasp hers in the windows of our memories.
I breathe deep and recall home as pure as home ever was. My grandmother—my haven.
The talk is all of ripened fruit and admiration for God’s growing goodness. Time is folded. We gather our buckets and head for the harvest. What is mine is hers, what is hers is mine.
Her voice calls up through the branches, a reminder that my perch is safe and guarded. She debates the worth of those high, bulbous globes and I pretend not to hear. I know the best is always closest to the sun.
I take a step down and she calls a tender warning. My arms stretch low, my hand cradling the faded green-gold fruit. Earth and sky meet as her papery fingers brush mine and I know that heaven is not above—but below.
Again and again I reach for the sky, plucking pieces of sun and dropping them into her waiting hands. Each brush of my skin against hers is reminder of time and how I wish it would stop. Just she and me beneath the pear-tree.
Our treasures teeter over brims and we leave the smaller pears tethered to their mother tree. Another time. Another day. A moment more to admire the tomatoes I’d never have grown without her and it’s time to go.
The sunlight has switched places and her face is a shadow in that brilliance though I am now the one standing in the drive. A slice of fear grips my heart—it is the second time I couldn’t see her face though we’re both wreathed in radiance.
Her voice finds me in my blindness, a happy farewell, and I brave a smile for her. My son’s words play in my head through another folded moment:
“I hope Other Grandma never dies.”
and I whisper as she drives away, “Me too.”