Memories of Her This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 17, 2013
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Dear Grandma,

How are you? I know I haven’t talked to you in a long time. I guess I haven’t had much time to visit, but I know that dad has come by and visited the cemetery recently.

Do you remember that prayer card I kept from the funeral? It’s with me every day. I love the front of the card; how beautiful it is. As I hold the thin laminated card between my nimble fingers, I carefully observe every fine detail of the quaint picture on the front. There stands Virgin Mary so picturesque, looking down from Heaven; her right hand extended to those below. With the shining crown upon her head, and a crucifix in the left hand, along with a small bouquet of Lily of the Valley, she warmly welcomes everyone to love and peace. Surrounding her are falling roses accompanied by the wisps of stars and colors.

She reminds me of you—loving and kind, yet strong and independent. That is why I carry this card with me; it is a memory of you. I know it is not an antique, it is not an heirloom or a gift you so graciously bequeathed to me, but it brings comfort and a sense of your presence into my heart and I love it as if it were bestowed upon me.

A significant memory that I have is your cozy red bungalow home. I remember, as I walk up the steps and open the screen door, the smell of cats and litter infuse the air. It wasn’t just the scent of the furry four-legged felines, but of the decorative antiques lined up on the shelves upon your mauve-colored living room walls. There lay the rough brown couch protected in a white sheet where the lethargic cats would stretch out and fall to the relentless whims of slumber. Adjacent to the La-Z-Boy, rests the prehistoric box-like television that comes with many of the video cassette’s I used to love as a child. I would watch them multiple times before I had gotten tired of them, and you would sit in the green-padded rocking chair and watch them with me, remember?

Another memory that I have is that when we both venture outside onto the frayed porch, we would sit together on the worn, rustic bench and blow bubbles. That’s all we did for an hour or two—just blow bubbles and talk. I sometimes would play hop-scotch, and give the neighbor dog treats over the fence. I guess we enjoyed each other’s company. Well, of course we did, we were family; not only that, but we were best friends.

I guess that all started changing as I grew up. We were both getting older, I stayed at home most of the time, as well as school, and you had to move out of your memory-filled bungalow home and into a senior apartment. It all just seemed so… different. I visited you rarely, and for some reason it was difficult to have a conversation. We had grown so far apart—I, as a teenager, became addicted to technology, learned how to avoid the world outside of my anti-social bubble, and became a typical teenage hermit without my phone or the internet.

You grew older as well, losing your touch with some daily technology, not being able to fully live on your own—you seemed, as if, a stranger to me.

Then came that one day… when you were left by yourself in your apartment, and you had a stroke. I remember Mom telling me that they were taking you to the hospital. After some time, we had to send you to the hospice, because there was nothing left to do but wait.

I was not allowed to be with you when you passed, but I thoroughly remember the last words I told you, “I love you, Grandma”. Even though you could barely speak, I knew you said it in return.

The biggest, most important thing that I regret is having not spent as much time with you as I should have. I take all the blame; it is my fault for not being with you, and I am so sorry.

That is why I carry your Irish Prayer Card with me. Every time I look at this precious piece of my life, all of those memories come flowing through my mind in a misty sea of remembrance and guilt. In hopes that you will forgive me and still love me as I love you, I write to you this letter of appreciation, memory, and family.

“In Loving Memory of Jane T.

December 13, 1919

March 24, 2012

May the road

Rise to meet you.

May the wind be always

At your back.

May the sun shine warm

Upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields.

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the

Palm of His hand.”

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