I dreamt of my Grandma for Mother’s Day. It’s not really unusual, I often dream about being “home” at my grandparents’ house, mixing with my cousins and wanting to stay longer. I’m always just about to leave, and sad that I have to go. I never get to stay there long enough.
But this wasn’t your happy, flowery kind of dream, but one in which I was wandering in her home, watching my aunts move things around and pack things up. They were all distracted and talking amongst themselves, but not really to me. I was becoming frustrated that no one seemed to notice that Gram was not there.
“Where is my grandma?” I asked repeatedly, finally becoming tearful and angry. “Where is my grandmother?”
A reply was absently tossed at me.
“But that’s not far from here!” I cried. “I want to see my grandmother before I leave!” I was indignant, and yet, they went right back to what they were doing. I awoke with that choked up, something is not right in my world feeling. I was weepy through most of the morning.
I was a little worried. You see, some years ago when I was young, I dreamed of my Uncle Bruce. In the dream, I walked up the stairs and found his twin sister sitting in his wheelchair in his room. She was crying. “This is all that is left of him,” she said. Two weeks later, he passed away after battling Muscular Dystrophy for 19 years. I thought that I had caused his death.
So at first, I worried that this might be the same for my Gram. I tried to remind myself that it was Mother’s Day, and I was likely thinking of the women in my life. I know that my mother and her siblings are meeting soon to discuss the future. I recently taught a lesson in church on Joseph and his interpretation of dreams. It all added up.
I was also feeling guilty because I haven’t called my Gram in ages. She’s in an assisted living home, and even though her body checked in, her mind did not. It’s a stranger living in my Gram’s body. She doesn’t know who I am when I call, and doesn’t remember afterwards that I have called. My sweet cousin V visits faithfully every week, and Gram doesn’t even remember her.
Another beautiful cousin lost her grandfather a few years ago, and I expressed my condolences. “Oh, it’s okay,” she said sweetly. “He’s been gone for years.” I understand that now.
Is there any part of her that knows that we are there? Will she remember when the veil is lifted? Be upset that we didn’t spend more time calling or visiting? Or will she understand that it was hard to communicate with her from so far away?
Is it abandonment if she abandoned us first?
I wished that I could call her, could tell her all that I needed to say. I wanted her to be my Gram – ornery and all – so that I could talk to her.
My dearest Gram,
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope that your day is filled with joy and laughter!
I love you, Gram. I miss you.
I want to laugh with you about our memories – how you told me when I was a teenager, “Don’t be yourself! Just be nice!” How I winked at you to tease you. How worried you were when I allowed a man – GASP – my grandfather – into my bedroom at Heritage Halls. About the time that you lost track of me at age two and I tried to go to school with the big kids.
I want you to remember them, too.
I want to share my successes with you. I want you to know how proud of Tux I am, for making the President’s Honor Roll in college. Even taking Japanese! I want you to know that he’s becoming himself again. That Addy has lost so much weight and is finding himself to be a handsome young man. That Toddy is finally pottie trained. That one of my graphic designs is being displayed prominently in the resort that I work for.
I want to tell you how exciting it was to see Tux graduate from Seminary. How proud of Todd I am because he says prayers in Primary. I want to talk about the things that I read in the scriptures, and how it applies to my life. I want to share these things because you devoted your life to teaching your family about the Gospel. I know that you would want to know that we got it.
I want to show you that despite all of your worries and concerns about our morality and poor decision making, we turned out okay. I want you to know that we understand why you were so adamant and sometimes…okay, often…critical. We know now because we are mothers. Grandmothers.
We are a family of strong women. We fight for the things that matter. We raise our children with equal amounts of discipline and love. We are good wives. We are a good family. We love each other. We support each other. We are there for each other. You’d be proud of us, if you knew who we were.
Yes, I’m a coward. And I’m ashamed of that. I’m afraid that if I call to talk to you, it will break my heart.
I'm sorry that I'm so weak. I'm sorry that you can't be with Grandpa like you desire. I'm sorry that your time here on earth is dragging on without you really being in it. I'm sorry that I didn't talk to you more often when I could.
Happy Mother’s Day, Gram. I love you. I miss you. And I’m hoping that in the world that you live in, you are happy. That when it’s all over, you won’t remember the time that you spent trapped in a stranger’s mind. And more importantly, you won’t remember that I was such a wimp.
Someday, we’ll look back on this and laugh. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.