If I had just one more day, Gram

Memories that leave the sweetest impressions on the soul

BROOKLINE — To say that Grandma and I had a few things in common might be an understatement.

October was our birthday month. We shared the same passion for horses, flowers, art, and music, and we both had a knack for making mint jelly. And despite the age gap between us, we truly enjoyed each other's company, especially over these past few years.

Grandma has always been a great source of inspiration for me. Poems and stories have sprung to life from reflections of uplifting visits with her, of fond childhood memories, and of course, of her melodious piano playing.

And I can't overstate just how incredible a person she was, how giving, or forgiving she was, how her beautiful soul graced the Earth as none other, or the depths of my sorrow now that she has passed on.

* * *

If I had one more day with you, Gram, just one final, sunny afternoon to spend with you, I would tell you just how often you will be remembered throughout my life:

I will celebrate your memory in the spring when apple, pear, and cherry trees blossom and when a soft, warm breeze surprises my senses with the fragrance of lilacs in full bloom.

I will remember you in the summer when I see the flowers of rose and alyssum, when fireflies dance, when we nibble on graham crackers, and when I make mint jelly.

I will think of you and smile when I have grapefruit for breakfast, without any sugar, since you always told me that it was sweet enough by itself.

And you will be pleased to know that on Sundays I will also think of you when I take communion.

Your timeless smile, your signature chuckle, and every single one of your farewell waves will remain with me.

And when I cuddle with my children, I will recall how you softly stroked my face while I daydreamed during those endless summer afternoons while you sat on the sofa and read your book.

I will think of you with a smile every time I tell my children to “stop banging on the piano,” and I will tear up when I hear a somber tune being played on that piano, for I will reminiscence about how your songs gently invaded my heart, leaving the sweetest of impressions upon my soul.

* * *

I will never forget the day that I lingered a little while longer in the doorway, taking one last look at you before saying goodbye. There was a glimmer in your eye and as you smiled; I warmly smiled in return.

Time stopped for a moment when you told me to “have a beautiful life.”

I nearly cried as I placed my hand over my heart and felt the swell of powerful emotion rise up from within me. I captured the essence of that perfect and unforgettable moment in my mind before finally departing.

It was customary at the end of the long hallway, to turn around and see if you were there waiting for me at the other end. And to my delight, you were. We waved goodbye to one another one last time.

Moments as these are woven as a bittersweet story in my heart whose tender beauty I surrender to.

* * *

During our final visit in April, you were introduced to your second great-grandson. While I held your hand and looked into your eyes, I confessed, “I think about you all the time, Grandma.”

And you closed your eyes, took a deep breath, smiled gently and with a content nod, you whispered, “That's only natural.”

I hope you know that I will always cherish our unique connection, and I am beyond grateful to have known you and to have loved you in this life. I will miss you, Gram, for as long as I live.

And you're absolutely right: that's only natural.

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