I turned 10 just two weeks before you passed away.
That means I had 10 short years, from my birth to your death, to form and cement any memories of you in my little girl brain. Looking back, and realizing how young I was, the years we had together seem like a pin point in time. But I want to thank you, because you managed to make a mark on my little girl memory that was positive, lasting.
I”ll be honest, I don’t remember a lot of details about our time together. I remember you sitting a lot, and I remember you playing the piano a lot. I know you were sick and in pain most of the years I was alive, but you were always there.
One memory remains cemented in detail. One little girl moment translated to a long-term memory I hold dear as an adult. It reveals the love of a 10-year-old granddaughter for her grandmother, a little tucked-away secret of my heart.
We were sitting at your kitchen table, the white one with the sparkly silver flecks. Yellow and white painted cupboards were in front of us, and those bright red, white, and orange fruit-patterned curtains were to our right.
We sat side by side, paging through the girls’ clothing section of a JCPenney catalog. You must have been really sick, because there was a JCPenney in town, and I’m sure we would have gone there if we could. We’d made a lot of trips to your house, and deep in my little 9-year-old-girl heart, I knew this was going to be one of the last times I’d “go shopping” with you. My task was to pick an outfit. You were buying. I narrowed my choices to a sky blue sweater, a striped blue and white button down shirt, and sky blue pants.
And it wasn’t so much the picking of the outfit that stuck in my heart all these years, it was what I thought to myself after I made my selections and we’d placed the order – I’m going to keep this outfit forever.
The outfit arrived, you passed, and I’m sad to say I never did keep that outfit forever like I promised myself at the table that day.
What I did keep was the memory of that moment. Knowing myself, there must have been something very, very special about you that I wanted to tuck away, to literally KEEP. forever. So I did. I kept all of my memories, specifically that memory, close to my heart.
I can wish you were alive to see me graduate not once but all three times, I can wish you would have there to see me walk down the aisle, I can wish you’d been there when my babies were born. And I can even wish you were still alive, so I could come visit you tomorrow. We’d have coffee and cookies, chat about days gone by, and your grandma advice about every little thing would be golden.
But we had our time, you made your mark. Your impact on my 10-year-old little-girl heart was deep, forever.
I tucked those sky blue pants and that sky blue sweater in the deep recesses of my mind, and I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the day we’ll meet in the forever-blue skies of heaven. You’ll lead me to the place where the world’s greatest musicians, writers, and artists gather, and we’ll hang. You’ll play a tune on the piano for me and a great big crowd of witnesses, and we’ll linger in the glory of eternity. Together. Forever.
Thank you grandma. I remember, I’m waiting,
*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!