For the first thirty years of my life, this date marked the celebration of a very special person on my calendar. For the past two July 3rds, the day has become more of a reminder…a chance to take pause and recall all of the beauty that one amazing lady once added to my life. She was my grandma–your great grandma, and I so wish you two had had the chance to meet.
Someday, I’ll tell you all about Gramma Donna–how she was the center of our family, the glue that always held everyone together. I’ll tell you about all of the times I’d call her just to say hello, and how we’d get off of the phone hours later, after catching up on everything under the sun. I’ll try to recreate for you the kinds of sleepovers I remember having at Gramma’s house when I was young–the strips of buttered toast, dipped in hot chocolate in the dim light of the kitchen after Grandpa had gone to bed, the countless bags of burnt peanuts, the little ways she made you feel like you were the most important person in the world on every single visit. I’ll share about how she was one of my very best friends, how I leaned on her for wisdom and a safe place, and how we were always welcome at her door. You would have adored her, and no doubt, she would have loved you like crazy, too. She couldn’t get enough of babies. Her heart was always big enough. Her table, always full.
No matter where I was traveling from, her kitchen always felt like home.
I’ll never forget the smell of her linen closet or the way everything was perfectly folded and in impeccable order. Some of those very same towels and sheets from my childhood days at Gramma’s are now sitting folded–still untouched after leaving her linen closet, in a basket in ours. I don’t want to unfold them or use them or wash them because if I linger close enough, the mark of her is still there, a year and a half after losing her. I can’t tell you I’ve ever had to say goodbye to someone who felt closer or more kindred than she. Even now, the remembrance of her is both beautiful and hard.
I wish that you had ever known her laugh, or the way she wrapped packages, prepared a holiday meal, poured herself into her family. She left a legacy that, for me, is something I’ll aspire to with you and your siblings and your children for years to come. I miss her grace. Her decorum. Her extra tight, extra long hugs at the end of a visit.
You never know how much time you’re going to be given with someone you love, sweet baby, so I say, make all of the time count. Gramma and I were able to do that, and I think it made all the difference in the world. There are no regrets–nothing we didn’t cover or express that hangs out there painfully since she’s been gone. Only perfectly sweet memories and the lingering space that no one else can fill exactly the way she always did. I pray that you have someone in your life who fill that space for you, too.
Please ask me about your great grandma one day, and when you do, make sure you have enough time to sit a while. I want you to know, as best you can, just what an impact she had on your mama–and just how blessed we were to have her lead our family for a time.
always good to leave a mark on the world the way she did. i pray i can do the same as the years go on. i do hope you crossed paths in heaven somehow…the thought makes me smile.
love you completely,