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.