The grief, it takes you by surprise sometimes.
Like when your kids have some friends sleep over and you go to pull a couple extra warm blankets out of the trunk in your room, and you see the quilt she made. It stares back at you, waiting to be touched. And so you do, and the tears start to flow instantly at the feel of the soft cotton in your hands, knowing that your grandmother made this. For you.
I miss my grandmother.
She had a long life! they exclaim, a consolation condolence offered – insincere – like a coarse tissue. My grandmother died too, they lament.
But my grandmother was my Grammy. More than just my dad’s mom, she was a walking hug, a gentle but snarky spirit, and she loved me. She didn’t just love me, but she loved me a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. Whatever your grandmother was, mine was more and whatever she was to herself she was more than that to me. So there.
It’s been a couple years and therefore, according to the American system of moving on with your life, I am supposed to have forgotten that she ever existed in the first place, not to mention stop crying about it already.
But she is everywhere. She is hidden under the small white table that my plants rest upon, because that is really her sewing machine table under there. It flips out like a secret, and I talk to her while I bring old clothes back to life or make little dresses for little girls.
She is in the yarn that I will never use because she gave it to me and once I make it into something else, I feel like she will have slipped away like a stitch. So it will always be just that, a skein of yarn that was hers.
She is the plant on my desk. I stole it after her funeral and she can scold me for that later. For now, I would steal a thousand more plants from a thousand more funerals just to feel some life left over, something to continue to grow in front of my very eyes.
She is perched atop armoires, small glass treasures handed to me over the years. She is in the Tupperware that she unloaded on me fifteen years ago, sure of her imminent demise. She is in my children, my middle child her namesake, a carefully chosen name to honor the fact that she hated not only her name but all of the names ever given to any baby ever over the course of her life. Finicky, that Grammy of mine. But mine.
She is somewhere in the air, they say, in our hearts, our memories, maybe even heaven. But I, the agnostic and potentially atheist among us, choose to believe she is right here.
In quilts, in plants, in sewing machines, skeins of yarn. A part of my home, now, though she never was before. And it makes me miss ever so slightly less.
But it will never make the missing her stop.