When my Gram died 4 years ago, it was bittersweet. She was a lovely, vibrant woman who was my main person in this world. We took ice skating lessons together, roller skating lessons too. We played paper dolls and danced to the music on the Lawrence Welk Show. She dressed me in pinafores and shiny buckle shoes, sending me to bed with rags in my hair so I would have bouncy curls in the morning when we drove around town to impress all her friends. “Give me your Miss America smile,” she would say.
“Eating apples cleans your teeth,” she would say. And we would pick juicy Gravensteins from her trees. She had a garden full of strawberries that I would eat fresh and warm with sunshine. Whenever we stayed overnight at her house, she gave us TLC Pills (tender loving care) before we went to bed so we wouldn’t be homesick. I was never homesick when I was with her. She was home for me. And even though I knew the TLC Pills came straight out of the Cheerios box, I felt her love for me in every nibble.
She loved youth. The smiling, shining, carefree beauty of it. She was disgusted with her body for betraying her in her old age. It was really hard on her when her feet became infected, when she wasn’t able to garden anymore, when she was supposed to use a wheelchair. The day the wheelchair arrived, she treated it like the devil himself. Damn that thing and everyone who thought it would be a good idea. She became very angry.
A Precious Season
By the time she was needing help on a daily basis, I had moved back to Anacortes. It was such a beautiful season in my life, taking care of my Gram as she had taken care of me. I felt truly honored to be part of her daily bath, getting dressed for the day, changing the bandages on her feet. Most days I nearly wept for the beauty of it. Her still soft skin, the smell of her cream, those beautiful hands that caressed and loved me as a child.
It was a beautiful season in my life. And very sad too as her anger and frustration rose while her life force dwindled. Eventually we had to move her to an assisted living facility where she resided only for a short while before she passed.
A few days later, to my great horror, my apex-hunting werecat, Remus, snatched a hummingbird out of mid-air. On the one hand, it was an incredible feat of stealth and reflexes. On the other hand, it is always devastating when magical creatures are plucked from their vibrancy.
Fortunately, I was able to get the little buddy away from Remus. Though she was terribly startled, she mostly seemed unharmed. And there I was, holding this fragile, magical creature – a hummingbird, in my hands. It was not unlike holding the magical, fragile, aging creature of Gram in my hands.
Some people don’t believe in signs, but I’m not one of them. I believe there is meaning and comfort everywhere if we are open to it. In that moment, I knew that tiny, shiny life form had come into my hands as a sign. A sign from the Universe that all was well with my Gram. That she had crossed over into peace, finally. In that moment, comfort rippled out all through me. And gratitude and wonder too.
I thanked the little creature for its message and was pensive as I opened my hands for her to fly away.
There is meaning and comfort everywhere if we can be open to it. It’s ok to let your imagination bring you messages of comfort and wonder. Our imagination is a higher part of us that connects us to great wisdom and revelation. On the other hand, our culture can be so dang linear in its approach to reality and possibility. Right angles everywhere! But balancing those rigid lines is flow. And flow is where we find out that we are loved and seen. Flow sweeps us along on a current that leads to peace.
If you have been wonderstruck, or lost someone precious, if you long for comfort or believe in magic, let’s be friends~