debating over this post is only slight the accurate description. what words are adequate to describe someone you love and have heard the last of on this earth? someone you spoke with often, and even now, think of calling..only to remember you cannot. trying to put into words the feeling of a deep-pitted gnawing in the center of my gut.. almost a feeling of hunger that cannot be satisfied. an empty spot that refuses to be filled.
i realized it first when we turned into my grandparent's driveway, and i knew that she would not be there to hug me hello. sure i knew that she was gone from this earth before that moment, but the weight of this truth hit me then. reaction refused anguish though..instead, simply accepting this deep-setting reality.
she was..is..my grandma. i called her Gram.
Gram, all four and one-half-feet-or-so of her, spunky as all get out..a force to be reckoned with. she never drove a day in her life, but always seemed to get where she wanted to go. a true to television 1950's wife and mom, pictures show her in casual dresses and skirts, usually layered with an apron, and she always had a thing for pearls. memories of those years stir stories from her kids of lumpy oatmeal breakfasts, bologna sandwich lunches and hot dinners on the table..every night.
it isn't until the early 80's that my own memories begin taking shape...
with my childhood set in Maryland, and her living in Ohio throughout, our visits were but a few times a year. but the memories are sweet and vivid as though much closer than 30-some years ago.
there are specific times, especially Christmas mornings, that are firmly planted in my mind. but, i think it is the normal, mundane, no-special-occasion-visits that stand out special and hold my heart warm.
i can pull up in their narrow Ohio driveway, by-passing the front door for the back, always. jumping out from the car backseat, Ohio winter's air hits brisk. there was never a need to knock. so, door flung open, i entered. creeky, slightly uneven, wooden steps below..bounding up only a couple to the left finds me looking right, into their kitchen. and, there she is, standing at her stove or sink. the house smells a mix of wood stove burning, baked cookies and that morning's breakfast bacon. still in the hallway entry, turning to my left, i see my Grandad sitting in the family room. he smiles and says, "well, looky here!" Gram is quick to come wrap her arms around each of us, asking us how the trip was, and if she could get us anything. were we hungry, thirsty?
it isn't long before i would find myself at her special desk. she had certain drawers that we grand kids were always allowed into. they were full of construction papers, glue, special scissors and those markers that had you smelling their scent more than drawing with them. my favorite scent was the light green one..it smelled like mint. and there was always glitter..lots of glitter. i sat there for hours, creating. she and i would later bake cookies. not because she did not have any.. she always did when we visited. but, simply because it was fun to make them together.
as i got older, she taught me how to create all things yarned.. from plastic canvas to knitting. she taught me with skillful hands, patience and kind words.
there were also warmer days of summer spent out at the camp-site. swimming in the lake, playing Chinese checkers or Simon on the bed inside the trailer, eating inside the netted, zippered canopy. walks to the playground and full-family wiffle ball games.
so many trips they made to my house as well..for my birthday, or for no real reason at all.. other than just to see us. we flew kites, made cakes, went for walks, created. they would watch as i showed off my latest accomplishment, from riding my bike to doing a cartwheel.
when childhood gave way to womanhood, she became a wonderful listener for me. ....that is what i miss the most.... often, i would find myself sharing something on my heart, and she would listen..really listen... she was a constant encouragement to me in my relationship with God, and my family.
the times i got to spend with my Gram in this lifetime..none of them were extravagant. none of them boast of massive money spent, nor great measures to entertain. but they all have one common thread..being together..and being truly interested in the person God made you.
i am so grateful to have had 36 wonderful years with my Gram. and, i am even more thrilled that i KNOW i will see her again, spending all eternity with her! because she knew Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior, accepting what He did on that wretched cross so long ago as payment in full for her sins, the moment she breathed her last breath, her faith was made sight. she is with Jesus. and, because i know Him, i will be there one day as well. i cannot help but be excited for her, even now.