Five years ago, I lost my Grandmother unexpectedly to cardiac arrest. She had lived with my family and I for my entire life and her unexpected death left me in grief for a very long time. I still have my bad days, don’t get me wrong, but as the years have passed by they have been less frequent. But then there are those days when I find myself driving down the highway, listening to the radio and for no reason at all I am overcome with the sudden urge to call her up on the telephone and then I realize she won’t be there to answer and I begin to cry.
Today, I had one of those days. Except this time I envisioned the type of conversation her and I would have if she were to come down from heaven for just one day. I have thought of this concept many times before: the idea of your loved one coming down for a visit for one day out of the year, maybe on Christmas or a birthday. But I always decide against it, realizing that it would probably make me miss her more.
But on this imaginative day when my grandmother does visit, she’d be wearing her favorite orange colored blouse and her favorite rose necklace and her familiar sweet perfume. Her make-up would be perfect just as it always had been, and she’d be sitting on the back porch, just as she always had. I’d be sitting next to her and I would watch as she fed our dog Maggie some food she had brought from heaven just for her. (Our dog had lost five pounds after her passing. My grandmother just couldn’t resist her when she begged for leftovers!)
I’d take her inside our house that had changed so much since she had passed, and she would walk into the family room and look confused at the different furniture and understand why my mother had to take my grandmother’s usual red chair away. I would hold her cold hand as she went over to the book shelf to look at the black and white photograph of her and her sisters from the 1940’s. She’d kiss me with gratitude that we had left it in the room for her.
I would show her my prom pictures and she would marvel at my straight teeth now that my braces were off, and I would take her on a drive in my Honda and we would go get ice cream at the old Dairy Queen at the Circle. She’d teach me how to cook her infamous string beans with rice and she’d go upstairs to see Tim’s room now painted green instead of sports wallpaper, with a new bed and dresser. She’d look at me and say, “I already knew he had moved out because I have been watching from heaven.”
I’d tell her everyone was happy; her sisters, her daughters, her other grandchildren, and her nieces and nephews. She would smile and tell me to let them know how much she loves them. I would also tell her that the Buckeyes won their opening game last weekend, and she’d yell “GO BUCKS!” at the top of her lungs.
We would talk about love, and how sometimes I’m not sure who I am, and how I am fully on my way to becoming a woman and how most days I still wish I was the little girl who sang “You are my sunshine” with her in the family room. She would probably tell me that she didn’t know who she was when she was 20, and it was okay that I didn’t know yet either. She always seemed confident and happy, and watching her smile would make me miss her more than I already had before.
When it was time for her to leave, I would hug her as if I could hug her for a thousand years and I would try my best not to cry, because I knew how much she didn’t like seeing other’s cry – especially her grandchildren. She would tell me that she’d visit me in my dreams and that she loved me. “I love you” she’d say. “I love you more” I would respond. “I love you most” she would whisper as she began making her way back up to the clouds of heaven.