Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grandma and Dreams

Grandma, don't you think it's time for another visit in my dreams? Twice in these last thirty-some years, you've visited in dreams that stayed with me after waking. Doesn't seem like much, when I write it down and count the years, but those dreams travel with me still. Those dreams were the kind that seem so real that when you wake up you get mad at reality.
I cannot explain my fascination with the first dream. It hurt so much. In that dream, you passed me in an airport concourse. You were riding one of those moving sidewalks, going in the opposite direction of the one I was riding. I jumped and waved and shouted, but you looked right past me, didn't see me. BUT you were alive, you weren't gone. Over the years, there has been a strange comfort drawn from the wisps of that dream.
Not too many years ago, the second dream practically knocked me out of REM sleep. Some sleuthing inside the dreamworld resulted in me finding you, alive and well, living in another city. You had continued growing older each birthday, and you explained to me that you just had to leave and start over somewhere else. You didn't really mind that I'd found you, and you happily spent the day catching up with me. I really liked that dream.
So, Grandma, it's your birthday, and I just wanted to talk to you. I'm a grownup, sure, and I am nothing if not matter-of-fact about life and death. You live in my heart and mind most of the year. It's just in the few days surrounding your birthday that this desire to see you and hear you always surfaces.
Writing is usually the cure, the antidote, the way to honor your memory. This year, though, I hesitated for a bit. Many of your grandchildren "see" and "talk" to each other online nowadays, and it seems like my limited memories of you pale in comparison to what the kids older than me remember about you. Heck, reading Aunt Carol and Barbara Ann's simple posts about remembering your phone number made me envious of my cousins who lived nearer and saw you more often. . . so, I know the power of a simple observation or musing when it takes you by surprise.
I guess that last sentence is my warning and/or apology for going ahead and writing down the snippets that crossed my mind last night when I was looking for this picture of you and me:
  • Every Christmas, I tell anyone who'll listen the story about me finding the Christmas presents in the back bedroom upstairs at your house. It was the year you got me and Lisa matching baby dolls. The dolls had pale blond hair and light blue-green dresses, and I thought they were wonderful. You nonchalantly told me those were for some other little girls. . . and was I happily surprised when they did show up under the tree for Lisa and me.
  • The giant rocking chair in the front bedroom upstairs is my gold standard for rocking chairs. The upholstered, padded seat and back are vague in my mind's eye, but the tactile memory of rocking in that chair is still here.
  • Another memory that dims when I try to focus it is of sitting with you at the end of the dining room table. You are telling me about Sam Greer, telling me a story about when you met him. Try as I might, I can't remember the story itself or focus on your face, BUT the feeling of being loved and trusted with a special story is here.
  • You and Grandpa came to our other Grandma and Granddaddy's one time when we were there. I can close my eyes and be back on that great big, shady front porch. Susie and William are there. Mother and Pop and Grandma and Granddaddy are close by in the yard or maybe inside the house with the screens open. You are swinging on the front porch swing with us. To make this flashback perfect, I am taking the liberty of mixing timelines to suit my imagination-- you are wearing that lilac doubleknit pantsuit, and Granny had to have been wearing her green checked doubleknit pants with the orange doubleknit shirt :-)
  • You know those old-fashioned roses that grew beside your house? Mother, the plant whisperer, still grows those. Hands down, my very favorite flower ever.
  • Gretchen. Another memory. That weinerdog is sprawled across the tile of the dining room floor, and I'm scratching her belly. Blackie was okay, but he wasn't Gretchen.

See, I told you the memories seem pretty vague and wishywashywithtime. Hope you don't mind that I can't capture in words all the feelings that cloud around the memories. Maybe if you come visit in a dream, I'll try to put them into words.

Happy Birthday, Grandma

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