In all honesty, I don’t remember dying Easter eggs with grandma Ginny at the kitchen table that April 1984. After all, I was only 7 years old.
Here’s what I do remember. Two years and three months later, grandma passed away. I turned 10 two weeks prior to her passing.
Memories of grandma Ginny are few and far between. Grandma sitting in the corner chair by her music box curio. Grandma’s voice. Grandma’s laugh. Grandma sitting politely and patiently at the kitchen table. Grandma’s sister talking to soap opera characters on the television when we celebrated Christmas in California. Grandma at the piano. Grandma inviting me to play duets. Grandma looking through a JCPenney catalog with me at the kitchen table; ordering a baby blue sweater, pants and a striped blouse I swore I’d keep forever in her memory. Grandma rocking in the chair, watching me and my sister play piano before Christmas dinner. Grandma in head-to-toe pink velvet. Grandma’s house. Grandma’s snow white, tangerine orange and cherry red kitchen curtains. Grandma sick in bed while people rotated in and out of her room. Getting news of grandma’s passing when mom and dad picked us up from the Steffan’s house. “It’s okay to feel sad,” I recall hearing as I bent low in the back seat.
This summer will mark 31 years since grandma Ginny passed away.
It’s no surprise that of all four of my grandparents, I have the most longing, the most wishing that I would’ve had more time with grandma Ginny. She passed away when I was so young, years and years before my other grandparents. I never had that grandma when I was a junior higher, high schooler or college student. She never heard about my first job. She never met my boyfriends, nor did she witness me walk the aisle in white. She never knew I was pregnant, nor did she get to meet any of her great grandchildren.
Yeah…for a few years now, I wish I could just sit down and have cookies and tea with grandma. That’s what I long for most. That’s the grandma I wish for this Easter.
Can we just talk about the world, grandma? Can you tell me who you are, and tell me who I am? Can I do anything for you, grandma? Can you play me a song, grandma?
Who are you missing this Easter? Who won’t be there this weekend?
Maybe it’s grandma. Maybe it’s grandpa. Maybe it’s your husband or wife. Maybe it’s mom, dad, sister or brother. Maybe it’s baby you never birthed, baby you still birthed, baby whose grave you’ve visited every year since. Maybe it’s an auntie, uncle, mentor or friend. Maybe it’s a loved one who’s living at a distance. Maybe it’s someone dear who’s no longer in your life. Maybe it’s someone deployed or hospitalized. I don’t know who you’re missing, but everybody misses somebody.
It’s okay to remember. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to long for days that happened and never happened.
It’s okay to look back with fondness at the days we were gifted. It’s okay to say their name out loud. It’s okay to reminisce when the ham and eggs pass.
It’s okay to acknowledge all the feelings, all the memories, both bad and good, brutal and beautiful, vague or filled with detail.
But then, yes then, let’s revel in the here and now.
Sit. Be present. Stand up and acknowledge someone’s significance. Give a hug, a high five. Serve. Receive. Delight. Dive in deep. Be overjoyed, surprised, amazed. Listen when people tell you their story. Listen when people show you who they are. Keep your eyes open for memories that mean the most. And be sure to take photos, lots of photos. For none of us know how long we’ll have with loved ones near and dear. Someday down the road, that photo might mean the world to someone, that photo might fill the gap between now and eternity for someone.
Who are you missing this Easter?