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Friday, 23 November 2007

A Text Message to Grandma

By Linda Davis of Grammology

She’d just come out of her ablation. Ablation. Fishing a wire through your veins; burning a part of your heart. Trying to stop its frantic rhythm.

As she lay propped up in her bed, wires everywhere, her silver hair spiked, I smiled. Her 70th birthday was last week and we daughters took her to New York where she learned to do her eyebrows for the first time. I chuckled that she’d done her eyebrows for the surgery.

Now she slept, breathing softly. When did her skin get so soft, like a baby’s? When did those pale spots appear on her skin? She still manicured her nails in the old style, pointy, like I always remembered. I touched them as I held her hand. When did her eyes get droopy and soft and her eyes so green? When did her face get so angular and her body so round?

I watched her. Her always positive, always active, always on top of things countenance, suddenly so fragile. I don’t think I can bear life without her I think as I watch the monitor showing her heartbeat. I don’t think I can bear even thinking about life without her. My mother is darker, much darker. Not angular. Her eyes are black and not green. This fair-haired mother did not create me, but she was mine. I claimed her and she claimed me when I was eight and came to live with her.

And she claimed my son and he claimed her when he was about three. They were playmates. And friends. She indulged all of his passions, all caught in a series of snapshots etched in my mind. Grandma peeking out of his tent. Grandma asleep on the couch while The Little Mermaid played for the umpteenth time. Grandma babysitting froggie. Grandma reading the Grandma and Me book aloud. Again.

While these snapshots rolled through my head, my son sent me a text. “Tell her I love her” was all it said.

Here eyes opened so slowly that I didn’t see she was awake. I told her that a text came in for her. I read it to her. Transformation, so swift, so sudden, her green eyes sparkled. Her cheeks flushed with color. Her smile so big, “My Milesy, he sent me a text. Tell him I love him.”

“You tell him that I’m coming to his apartment after Thanksgiving and that I’m putting up a Christmas tree for him.” She nodded off again.

I called him back, gave him the message. “Mom, I was worried. I don’t ever want Grandma to die,” was all he said.

I called her yesterday to see how she was doing. She couldn’t come to the phone. You see, her grandson was visiting and they were having a talk.

In my mind I imagine them both at his apartment after Thanksgiving. They’ll put up his first bachelor’s pad Christmas tree. Probably have hot chocolate that she brings for the occasion.

Will they sit on the couch and watch a movie just like they used to after a long day of play? Maybe he’ll say, just like he used to: “You can get up now Grandma, the movie’s over. Can we talk some more now?”

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Beautiful how you managed to say so much without actually coming out and saying it.

What a wonderful story. I hope someday that my grandson(s) will feel that way about me.

Lovely story -- the moments in time, the words we share with another are what mean the most.

All the words that I could never say. But I know that I feel them.

Both of my grandsons are here next to me, but rather than talking or playing with me, they are playing games on the other computer or are listening to their Ipods or playing their Wii. I need to take them away from all of those electronics if at least for a short time.

What makes this piece so "dear" is that it is both parts introspective and a tribute to a cherished family member. It involves a complete generation of individuals from the grandmother, to a mother, to a grandson. Each member brings something unique to the relationship that works powerfully in this dynamic of three.

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