I occasionally fear I can make things happen by writing about them. At one of the novel critique meetings, Mary shared a similar thought. She’d written a story about someone needing to move and they unpacked the boxes before the people helping with the move could return to take away the next batch of boxes. It was eerie for her when a relative of hers did that in real life.
Recently, I thought it would be okay to write about a main character losing her mother since mine was already gone. I now think I’ll only write about attractive, wealthy, and attentive men who love me and want to console me about my grandmother and swear that my writing had nothing to do with it.
I’m not saying my grandmother was like a mother to me; she was more like a great friend who believed in me, wanted me to be my best, and always had my back. When I was little, she had me walk with dictionaries balanced on my head so I’d have poise and good posture. I brushed my teeth because she said they were important and you didn’t want to lose them. The biggest thing I learned was that life goes on and she taught that by example.
She didn’t know how to drive. When my grandfather died, she took driver ed and she got her license when she was 54–don’t hold me to that, she might have been a bit younger–but not by much. That amazes me, her being that old and deciding that was what needed to be done, then doing it. After that, she went out and got jobs, first at a cookie factory, then at Champion. She worked there for years and retired not because it was her choice, but because it was a company policy.
If she was ever in pain, I don’t think I ever saw it–except for the very end, and I wonder if that in part was just letting out all the hurt that must have been inside. I was not a perfect grandchild. She never said anything, but I know I disappointed her, and I am sorry about that. Constant friends, her brother, her parents, her youngest daughter, my dog that she adored all passed away while she remained–strong, standing, putting another load of laundry on the line, making another grocery list, calling Wes to fix the water pipe that burst and was spraying on the electric panel. I remember seeing her the day after that happened. Something that would have had me cowering in fear of floods and fire for weeks, she shrugged off and didn’t think was worth mentioning. The crisis was over; she’d moved on.
I don’t think of her as gone, someone that resilient has the power to remain in those she touched. I may not be able to call her and tell her I just got published in a magazine or show her that some check was for some words that I wrote. I may not be able to hear her when an episode of I Love Lucy comes on and some silliness makes her laugh. I may not knock on the backroom door and open it to the smell of her rolls, or cookies or roast beef ever again. There won’t be any more hugs or kisses from her, but I’m all right with that. I’m blessed to have had as many as I did when she was alive.
I brought her flowers when I visited because even though she said I didn’t have to do that, I’d get a note or phone call saying that they were so pretty and a thank you. So, let me say thank you for reading this, whenever you happen across it, whether you knew my grandmother or not. I hope you have an amazing person like her in your life, and if you don’t maybe that’s because you’re the amazing one and you just aren’t aware of how other people perceive you. The world is a strange and wonderful place; spring is here; fantastic, good things happen every day and now that I’ve written that, maybe it will be true. I’ll let you know how I make out with my new rich, handsome boyfriends.
(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)