Sunday, August 5, 2007

Lilac Trees

When I was a kid, I didn't like my Grandma. She lived next door to us and her wrinkled face scared me a bit. She was stooped over and her hands were gnarled from age.

I miss her today. I miss her well-lived face that had story lines written all over it. I miss how short she was and how you could always hug her and almost tuck her into your pocket because she was so small. I miss her hands-they'd knead dough, serve me tea and wave in front of my face whenever she was upset about something.

With great clarity I can recall a day that I spent sitting at her table having tea (even though I was lectured that I should learn to love Finnish coffee).

"Grandma, you're 91 now. Tell me something that you've learned about life."

She grew thoughtful and quiet (which was rare, for she always had a ready word to say). She looked at me after a long time and say, "You know, I used to spend a lot of time worrying about all sorts of things. Things like 'what could happen or what might be said or how long this might go on' and you know what? None of it happened. None of it."

"None of it?"

"None. So, that's my advice, don't waste your life worrying because it doesn't happen anyway. And even if it does, it never happens how you think it's supposed to."

I've tucked that conversation away in my pocket and every once in a while I take it out and examine it and treasure all that it is.

I miss my Grandma today. Her blueberry pies, her Finnish mumbling, the way she got out of the orange chair, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, the way she stood on her porch and watched til you crossed the field safely, her sauna Saturdays and the time we spent on the mat-weaving loom. I miss her sigh. It always said so much.

Being a child is a funny thing. You are completely unaware that all the simple things, all the habitual little nothings will one day be the things that comfort you when your heart is full of longing for the ones you miss.


The Ivory Tower said...

You write well and have a good sense of humor....nurture these traits and they will carry you through the good and bad moments of life............jim

Amy said...

thanks for writing about "Grape". I miss her too. And that blog just made me miss her more. Especially now with recent events.
I had a chance to take Ris & Airy to her gravesite and dad's- we planted flowers. It was a pretty cool experience sharing that with them.
thanks for the reminder about gramma- i miss her too :(

Keshi said...

being a child is the only time when u r being a genuine soul. Great post!


EM said...

The power that those who have gone before us gives us courage to face tomorrow with less worries than we have to have. Your Grandma was a very wise woman for sharing her thoughts with you. Thank you for sharing her insights with the rest of us.

Amy said...

I miss my grandma too..for different reasons ofcourse...but nevertheless for being my grandma. Thank you for sharing....Although I worry little, it's always a great reminder that God is in control..all the time!!

Joy said...

I have always wanted to ask my grandma that same question... I liked your post, you're a great writer :) Blessings