Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fly Away Home

     My mother would have been 85 years old today, but she passed away at the beginning of November. Long ago, she bequeathed to me her love of books and storytelling and encouraged my need to write. My dear mom also possessed a child-like appreciation of the world around her and a quirky imagination. I am so grateful that I was able to fly home to Washington beforehand to share in the last days and moments of her life.

     As those of you who have said good-bye to loved ones already know, we find relief from our grief in the stories that we tell about them. My niece, Jacqualine, shared the following memory with us:

     It was a large family gathering, most likely Leif Ericsson day. There were tables laden with all sorts of tasty food and desserts. The great-grandchildren were running around playing with their toys, and everyone else had settled down with a good meal.
     I was relaxing with a plate of lefse, when Grandma came and sat beside me. 
     Around this time she had begun a special diet, so I wasn't surprised to see her with a napkin full of vegetables in her hand instead of dessert. However, I did think it a bit curious that she seemed to be munching away without touching a single carrot.
     So I decided to watch.
     When she thought no one was looking, Grandma reached under her napkin and pulled out a cookie.
     "Grandma," I said pleasantly scandalized.
     She just looked at me with a mischievous smile and a twinkle in her eye, and then in one quick motion popped the cookie into her mouth. She chewed happily, and all I could do was shake my head and chuckle.
     This is how I learned the top-secret napkin trick, which is very useful if you’re in the business of smuggling treats.
     I’ll see you in heaven Grandma. Make sure you save me a place in the choir.

     Yes, that was my mom. I couldn't let her birthday pass without writing something in her memory:

Fly Away Home

Her hands are smooth, now
She stoops to tie a child’s shoe
Golden light above, golden streets
Beneath her bended knee.
Do you remember me?
She follows the line of my asking
Follows the line of my ageless frame
From lowly foot to eternal eye.
Ah, you’ve come home at last.

1 comment:

  1. The memory from Jacquie captured Grandma perfectly,and this post has too.