All of the lost opportunities (and I know I’ve had many) have ran past me as I stood still. Now, the race is over and still I feel the wind swirling around me as those opportunities circle my mind, over and over again. I have nobody but myself to blame for failing to send your ears, and your heart the words that you deserved to know before you left…the words that, although may not measure up to the love and respect I’ve had for you, should have been said face to face when I could still hold your hand and watch your eyes as they smile. Now I’ll never know if you truly knew the pride I felt and the honor it was to be your granddaughter.
So here I sit, beneath this cloud of grey, surrounded by fog, as the world, once fast-paced as I knew it, has suddenly become slow-moving, yet not slow enough to move backward to the place where I can make it right. Perhaps my mind has just pushed pause because I don’t know what to do with the present, and I’m afraid of walking into an empty future.
The news of your passing hit my ears and left my body deaf. I stumbled into a waking nightmare, the kind that leaves the dreamer just paralyzed enough that they can try to move, but their legs fail to run to escape the chase…so with weak arms and useless legs, I crawled listlessly through those never-ending hours and the only thing to run quickly or run at all was a stream of tears down my face. Even the rain appeared to be stuck in the clouds, teasing the earth with the scent of showers it couldn’t feel. I would have given anything for the sky to wash away the day.
I always knew this wouldn’t be easy, but I never realized just how difficult it all would be. So I will own up to my mistakes-- the main one of them all, being my selfish reserved ways. Every day that came and went without me stopping by to deliver a hug, the days left silent where even three words remained unspoken, I left the love inside me, all the love I felt for you; I never shared it and now it is still inside me, swelling up my heart, on the verge of explosion because I kept what I should have shared and my heart knows it doesn’t belong there. This love, respect and admiration belongs with you.
As difficult as this may be, I am finding my way through the fog to a cloudless day where I can find a place to sit and talk with you… A day where the sun can embrace us with proof that opportunities are never truly lost. Because I am my grandmother’s granddaughter, because I was born with your strength, courage and perseverance flowing through my veins, I am swimming through the currents, the constant waves of emotions that crash over me again and again, holding my breath then gasping for air but never stopping until I reach calm waters…never stopping until I reach your sailing ship, where I can hug you one more time and say all the words that should have been said long before good-bye.
So until then, I keep moving, carrying all that I must bring to you. Each thank you, every last ounce of gratitude for the many gifts you've offered my heart, for the fun times filled with lakes, swimming pools and the towels, the sodas and all the ice cream that awaited me after hours of splashing and swimming the summers happily away. For the plays and musicals you brought us to, and the waiting while we’d get our playbills signed. For the birthday cards signed “love, Grandma” and for the cash you’d stuff in them. Thank you for my aunts and uncles and all of their love, too-- that same love they no-doubt learned from you. Thank you for thinking I was meant for incredible things and for telling me how smart I was and guiding me to self-confidence. Thank you for being strong so that I can sometimes be weak. Thank you for those giant cookies you used to give us when we’d come to your diner where you worked. Thank you for yelling at me when I did something wrong, and then telling my dad, so that he could yell at me, too. Thank you for the part of me that is because of you. Thank you for most-likely already forgiving me for all of these things I’ve never said to you.
I love you, Grandma, I’ve loved you always in my own way, and maybe now you have the ability to peek inside my heart and see how much of it is there for you. I can only hope.