“Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.”–Mary Elizabeth Frye
April 11th. Today is your 100th birthday, Gram. I still haven’t deleted your number from my phone although it has been at least 12 years since you last answered at that number. I miss your voice when I would call, the way you would say, “Hey, doll!” and always have time to talk to me. I miss the way you would chastise me for writing you thank you notes for simple things like birthday cards. I miss the way your home smelled of you, of Red Door. The way you would offer me anything and everything in your pantry, your fridge, your cupboards, even if I walked in bearing food.
Mom gave me a recipe box filled with some of your favorite recipes clipped from newspapers or written in your own hand. My nose inhaled the scent in that little tin box, so faint and yet so powerful. Instantly I was 5 years old, wrapped in your arms, being pulled out of the tub. You would place upon the toilet lid, rubbing me dry with a towel before sprinkling me with Jean Nate and powder poof to the nose.
This is how I will teach my girls about you. I will give them these memories. I will show them pictures and I will tell them how much you loved them, even though you had only met M once; C and V, not at all. I know that for as much as you loved me, you didn’t have to know them to love them. You always loved them.
I miss you
and I want to talk to you
and I want to tell you what has been going on.
I want to tell you what the girls are up to. I want to hear you laugh when I tell you that M is trying to eat me out of house and home, how between her gangly arms and legs and the missing teeth, C looks like a baby giraffe, and how V. . .oof. . . we just don’t know where V came from; it’s like she’s been here before.
When the girls are cutting up the worst, Mom reminds me, “Gram would love this,” and she’s right.
You would so love it.
I want you to ask me, “How is that broken down brother of yours?” and I’ll gladly respond, “Broken-down.”
I want you tell me to give The Hubs a “big ol’ sloppy kiss”.
At your memorial service, I didn’t cry. It surprises me though, how every year when I write this post, when I read that poem, the tears fall quickly and steadily. You absence is still felt very strongly.
I love you, Gram.