Sunday, February 23, 2014

Conversations with Grandma-"Wine"

"Do you like red wine?"  My Grandma inquired recently on one of our visits.  "My doctor says that one glass of red wine a day is good for your heart."  Grandma had atrial fibrillation and needed a pacemaker, but refused to get one.  After losing one son, she had a constant fear that she would outlive my dad and rejected anything that could unnecessarily prolong her life.

"I do enjoy red wine, Grandma."

"I don't like it.  Now a nice white wine, a White Zinfandel, that I like.  But, the doctor says I should have one glass of red wine a day.  So, you know what I do?"

"What, Gram?"  I said with a smile.

Holding up her long, elegant fingers, worn with years of hard work, she measured about a quarter cup between your forefinger and thumb, "I put about this much in a glass and I put it in the refrigerator.  Then in the afternoon, I gulp."  Tilting her gorgeous greyed head back, she threw her make believe glass of chilled Cabernet Sauvignon into her mouth quickly.  "It's the only way I can stomach it, but the doctor says it's good for me, so I drink it."

I laughed with her.  "It's the truth." She said.

Weeks later, I found myself at my Grandmothers numb with grief.  Looking around the apartment that didn't smell like her anymore because she had bought a stupid cinnamon air freshener.  She never had things that smelled like cinnamon.

"Where do you want to start Dawny?"  My dad asked.

"I don't know," I said, walking in a daze, eyes filled with tears, running my hand on her table, her china cabinet, looking at my Tai Pei dresser inheritance that I would trade in a heartbeat to have one more conversation with her. "The Landlord told me we have to clean the fridge and the oven and that's it."  I glanced at dad who was opening the refrigerator to see what needed thrown out and what to keep.

"Dawny, do you want anything in here? She has eggs, butter, cream cheese."  I walked to the refrigerator, bending down to peer in.  On the top shelf sat a glass of chilled Cab Sav with just the amount she had shown me with her graceful hands.  I smiled to myself, my heart swelled with her memory.  Oh, how I miss her.

"The memories of the godly are a blessing."
Proverbs 10:7a

"Beer is made by men, wine by God."
Martin Luther Circa 1500s

Monday, February 17, 2014

Today I learn to live life without her

I went back to work today.  I took the same route.  The same people said hello.  The same people didn't.  The work was there. The emails were there.

But I have changed.

You aren't here.  You can't be called.  I can't visit you.

We still have to clean your apartment, and we're weary with grief.

But, we are moving forward and learning to live without you.

I can feel the peace of God surrounding me.  He promises to , "Be close to the brokenhearted."  He is proving that.

"How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard."  Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Conversations with Grandma, "Grandma and Africa"

"You know Dawn, I never fully surrendered my life to God.  I always held onto it a little bit because I was afraid He'd send me to Africa.  And now I look at you.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my little girl would be so surrendered to Him."

"Thanks, Grandma, now I have to go to Africa!"

A cloud of calm sadness shadowed her face as she learned I was going.  She didn't want me to, but she didn't argue with me.  Several days later, I received an envelope in the mail from her.  It was filled with newspaper clippings on terrible things that were happening in Africa!  The envelopes came here and there.  I laughed when I opened them, my heart softened towards her, but remained steadfast on leaving for the medical mission's trip.

Then the letters stopped.  I visited her and she apologized, "I realize you must go, so I'm sorry I sent you clippings to scare you. But I won't give you any money to go, so maybe you won't have enough and can't go."

"That's ok, Grandma, God will do it."  I kissed her and prayed for her as I always did before leaving her home.

Kenya, Africa

I Miss Her

"Dawn Melisser, the little Pisser!"  
"Don't let your mom know I said that." 

Grandma, the pain is so real, so alive, crying out, "You loved someone!"
You took me by the hand from birth, guided me along broken roads, reminding me, "You can conquer."
You kept a watchful eye on guys that would try to harm me.  You let me fight my own battles, while reminding me, "You are a tiger."
I can believe you're gone, but I don't want you to be gone.
I want you here.
But as I prayed the last few weeks, "Please bring Grandma home, and don't let her suffer."
That's what YOU did.
So I will trust.
And Wait.
Until I see you again.