Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beautiful Weeds...

I had a dream about my granny last night, and I can't stop thinking about it today. In my dream, Granny and I were sitting at a roadside park. We were on a trip together, and we had stopped to rest. It was a perfect spring day, and although Granny was beautiful and healthy, like I remember her from my childhood, I knew in the dream that she was going to die, and that this was the last time I was going to see her. We were talking about flowers. I asked her if she remembered the blue flowers that used to grow around her house when I was a little girl. They bloomed in the morning and then closed up for the rest of the day, and I thought they were the most beautiful flowers in the world. I used to pick them and bring them inside, but they would close up and never open again. I tried to press or dry them, but they lost all their lovely cornflower blue and just shriveled up. I even tried taking pictures of them, but the pictures never showed their true color. I asked Granny in my dream why she thought it was that I could never preserve them when I was a child. She answered, "Because it's against the rules, Honey. We don't get to stop time to enjoy the beauty we find in life. We don't get to keep it forever. We're just supposed to enjoy it as much as we can while we have it because it never lasts very long."

That's what my life is: a series of lovely weeds. The things I plant don't always grow, but there are plenty of flowers anyway, just waiting for me to stumble upon them. I wish I'd had more time with my grandmas. It doesn't seem fair that they're both gone. But I have so many memories of the things they said, the things we did together and the times I spent with them. I have the most beautiful field full of wildflowers in my memory.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The makings of a memory...

It's been another sad week for my family. My grandma passed away suddenly on Saturday morning, and we've all been dealing with the grief related to losing someone so dear to us. I thought I should write about Grandma and what she meant to me. We each knew her a little differently...each relationship was unique.

Grandma was a quiet, peaceful person. When I was a kid, walking into her house was like being wrapped up in a cozy blanket. She lived in the country, and I looked forward to exploring the woods, playing with my cousin who lived down the road, and working in the garden. I guess being raised in the city meant that I never had to work in the garden long enough for it to become a chore. I remember sitting on the back steps in the evenings, snapping green beans. I remember the way scratches from the blackberry bushes stung when I rinsed them in the pump, and how good that well water tasted on a hot day. I remember Grandma and Mom in the kitchen, canning vegetables from the garden or cooking a meal. Grandma always made my birthday dinner when we were there. She would make whatever I wanted, and I think I usually asked for pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and green beans. It was always delicious.

Grandma loved animals. I remember her having several cats throughout the years, and she always fed the birds. Her yard is full of bird feeders and nest boxes, and we had a lot of conversations about what birds had visited her feeders. As an adult, I always called her with my gardening questions. We also shared a love of African violets, peonies and irises.

Needle crafts were another hobby we shared. Grandma was an excellent seamstress, and spent many evening hours stitching away on quilts, embroidery and crochet projects. Maybe that's where I get my "crafty" gene.

The day Grandma went to be with the Lord I went to a dear friend's house, and when I walked in she was pulling jars of dill pickles out of a stock pot. That about summed it up for me. Grandma was the smell of dill, the way those pickles looked in the jars, and the impatience I felt waiting the required six weeks before opening them. She was fresh spearmint from the garden in a glass of iced tea. She was quiet summer evenings and beautiful handmade quilts. She has left a big hole in the lives of all of us who knew her, but I know that when we get to heaven, she'll have a meal ready, and beds made up with beautiful quilts. I hope that she has a garden where weeds never grow and every pretty bird there is.