Always Love Zigzags {thru}, Holding Each Interior Memory, Even [those} Retreating {from the} Surface

My grandma was still living independently in her apartment when she visited me in a dream.  In the dream, she was handing me her baked goodness of either cinnamon rolls or sugar cookies. We were standing in her kitchen.  Grandma was being her nurturing self, for that was one of her greatest joys.  Nurturing others, especially her grandchildren, especially with her homemade food.   I’m certain grandma’s mantra was nurture with fuel from the heart to the heart through the stomach.  (smile)

In the dream, she was sharing a secret with me.   She was letting me know that she was tired.  I remember telling her it was okay to let go.  It would be a couple of years later that we would begin noticing her progressive dementia.   When she had entered my dream, she was “merely” occasionally forgetful in the way we felt grandma deserving to be after nearly ninety years of a well-lived life.

I reflect on that dream in that inner knowing way.  Grandma and I connected through space that night.   She was letting me know her soul was ready to complete the journey in this lifetime.   In a combination of seeking my blessing and preparing me for the way she would come to influence my writing and my spiritual path once she left Earth, our souls utilized the dream state to communicate heart to heart.   Without food.  (smile) With peace that transcends pending grief.  With unconditional love.    

I think of a daisy and the childhood “game” of plucking each petal as the words love me and love me not are stated.  As the petals fall away, there is pending doom or celebration.   Will it always be love?  Will love become out of reach?   

As the plucking continues, one ponders.  Maybe there is a way to outwit nature’s design.  Maybe the smallest of petals is an anomaly, a “one-off” from the normal.   Therefore, it doesn’t have to count in determining.

That one’s memory is retreating out of reach.

It is just a few things forgotten.  

More petals are plucked, and soon the center circle appears to be missing something.  Missing a few things, actually.  Maybe the changes in appearance aren’t as noticeable at first. Focus is on how the petals are still indicating loves ME

That one’s memory hasn’t turned all familiar faces into strangers, all familiar voices into distant echoes of once recognized. 

Soon, it feels as if what is being held onto is the center of the flower, with only a few petals holding on.  Petals plucked are scattering in the wind.  Some still lay at the feet, not yet disappeared. 

The wind is blowing the petals away as it blows in grief.    A count of the petals remaining feels like the answer will become love not, in reach. 

Ah, but the magic of hearts that can connect through space, transcending our mind’s perception of physical proximity.  A few days before my grandma left Earth my mom asked that I write the announcement of what would be her death for the local newspaper where my grandma had once lived.  I had an upcoming race across the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan and though my mom felt we didn’t have several weeks remaining, she also felt that the write-up could be after the weekend.

The race was special to me because I would be running across a bridge my grandparents had walked across every year for, gosh, far more years than I can imagine or know.  It was tradition not only for them, but also for my great grandfather, my grandma’s dad, who had even hitchhiked in his elder years to walk that bridge on Labor Day, the traditional day on which tens of thousands of people travel to walk it. 

Though much of my childhood was spent with my grandparents over the summer, I had never walked the bridge with them.  The return to school always overrode travels for a bridge walk weekend taking place after a new school year was underway. 

The race wasn’t Labor Day weekend, but even better, it was during my favorite season.  Fall.  The race started across the bridge before sunrise, so that part way across one could observe the sun rising over the water, promising another grate-full and beautiful day.    After completing the race, taking a shower, enjoying breakfast with my husband, and then beginning our sight-seeing travels towards home to pause part way to enjoy an extra night of relaxation my phone gained service.   I had a voicemail.

Grandma had left Earth. 

Sending a message in the sunrise, on “her” bridge, that she was in peace.  She had let go.   She loved me.  She remained in reach.

In the hotel that night I began writing what was originally intended to be an announcement.  Grandma had another idea in mind.  She entered my writing.   Together we wrote what would become a eulogy I would read the day of her service.   In first person, as if it was grandma speaking.  I can still hear the soft murmurs of appreciative yeses and chuckles as those who loved grandma could hear my grandma again.  Before petals started falling away.

Writing grandma’s eulogy would lead me to write a life story for someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s.   One of her children sat in on the storytelling to fill in the names and memories this dear soul could no longer remember.  When she repeated stories to me she had shared with me only minutes before, I witnessed her child’s growing grief. 

He was seeing the petals on the floor.   I was being shown the petals she was still holding on to.

For, if we were to hold on to every moment we have lived, we would fill up libraries.  We hold on to those memories that matter most to our hearts.  In every story this dear soul repeated was the memories that mattered most.   The certainty.   Always love.

Even through space.

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