I walked up the driveway like I had a million times before. It was my favorite path that led me to all things safety and comfort. I enter through the garage door as that was the door we always used to enter Grandmas house. It was the gateway to unconditional love. I always turned the knob with excitement for the smile that would lovingly welcome me and greet me on the other side of it with a big warm hug.
The first thing I notice as my arms wrap themselves around her back is the old rotary phone on the wall and the cord hanging down as if to outline the list of phone numbers taped to the side of one of the kitchen cabinets. I then shift them to the dining room table to my left that holds all things necessary for her daily details along with a knick-knack or two. Positioned just behind that along the wall facing the garage is the curio cabinet filled with Precious Moments. This house has always been filled with precious moments. Well beyond the ceramic figurines, though these memories too hold the freedom and innocence of my childhood reflected in the chubby cheeks of their cherub faces.
As I unwrap myself from her good graces I look to the bar in the kitchen to see what she’s been baking. Covered in sticky dough, is an index card inked in her handwriting containing some special yummy recipe that I’d have the privilege to savor as it comes fresh out of the oven.
I’d stand in front of the sink, staring out the window at the big blue sky and inhale the aroma of her Jafra cosmetics she wore, and the deliciousness that overwhelmed my senses and spirit in the most lovely of ways. She was magic to me. As though she had a special wand that made everything in life so much better. The skies were always blue when she was around, no matter how gray or gloomy the atmosphere or mood. She made everything brighter with her presence. And her blue eyes shining through her glasses always made me feel as if I was the most important person in the world. She saw me. All of me. She saw past the surface and deep into my soul and she honored both. The way maybe Jesus would.
Her silver tendrils wound into a bun tucked neatly in a hairnet made her face more visible and I loved putting my hands on them and kissing her nose while thanking her for everything.
I’m thankful for this woman more than words could ever describe. This home and woman’s heart holds my own. It has cradled it in every facet of my journey. The joy and heartbreaks and all the mundane nuances of life nestled in between.
I wish she hadn’t left while still being here. I see her now in my mind’s eye in that same kitchen, only now someone else is cooking and taking care of her. Sadly she doesn’t remember what I do. At least not in her human form and the shape that it has taken now. I know that her spirit always will. Our bond is unbreakable, unforgettable and no mind or memory could ever take or erase that. Our soul’s imprints exceed this dimension and go far beyond all time and space. Our love is eternal and ours is profound. She was my person. She still is. And she forever will be. I miss her though. I miss those memories, those greetings that were so warm and welcoming. She recognizes me now and yet she struggles to place me. It would hurt if I let it and while I’m sad that she no longer calls me by name, I am not hurt by it. She checked out for whatever reason, by whatever cause and unfortunately there is no cure. If I could bottle one, I’d take all she was to me all four decades of my life and pour it back onto her so she could feel the resurrection of anything just from her love.
I miss those recipes. Even more, I miss her making them. In that kitchen. The one that I stood in while my dad pulled my tooth. The one that held the jar of peanut butter she used to get the gum off my eyelid when I stupidly stuck gum to it for no reason. The one I flashback to at too many memories to count. Reminding me of a mason jar filled with mothballs in the hall closet filled with her yarn and cross stitch supplies. Cherishing the one she made for me in the ocean theme that spoke to my soul. I capture her in that frame and freeze her in time.
I picture her now, resting in her easy chair, with Bible in lap. Pages well worn from the oil of her fingertips that flipped through them faithfully, several times a day.
I hear her laugh and call me a “little rascal” when I nuzzle her neck and snort in her ear.
She loved and hated it all at the same time. She was my person. I love her deeply. It’s been hard being without her these past few years. She’s always that first person I want to call. To cry or celebrate or ask for advice. She always knew just what to say. She somehow held the words that would ease my mind and comfort my spirit. Her faith had roots that encompassed me and held it all together when the pieces were in disarray.
Today is my birthday and I pretend she remembers. I can hear her singing in my heart in her tone-deaf voice, “Happy birthday, dear Audraaaaaa….” If my candles could grant wishes, I’d wish for one more moment with her where she remembers…
The “High on Life” Coach