trinkets, memories, china cups, family memorabilia, grief, happiness

Granma Grace has weathered five or more (the doctors are not certain) strokes; she has a confusion that thickens as the day goes on, a deepening layer of impending doom. She has a foot that twitches, even while she sleeps, with this certainty of worry. Something somewhere is wrong, or will go wrong. That’s one layer out of many though: optimism is not obliterated, gratitude abounds, the love of simplicity: draw the curtains back, she will wait for the birds to alight on well stocked feeders. She will ask that the little cat who warms on the step be fed a treat. She will check the sky for the beautiful weather about to happen. She will love to go for a walk, however brief. Sometimes she cries for the loss of independence, quiet tears. She says she does not know how to repay us for our kindness in looking after her. Mock-strict I tell her this is prepaid love, and there’s a very healthy balance on this account. She blooms into laughter - it’s so good, it gifts me a halo. Today as the curtains are pulled across there is a lone swan waddling about her garden. He was here yesterday too, and had tried to follow me into the house when I fetched the washing in. He is a widower, she says, he visits here alone always. He nearly came to tea with us, I tell her, but I shut the door because those things can poop a pile! Yes, she giggles, that would not be good. I watch it graze, and walk at ease through the goose-gaggle that arrive later. Granma Grace drops into a deep nap, feet elevated in the recliner chair, legs blanket wrapped, foot a-twitch. I am staring from the window still. I see a magpie hopping (one for sorrow, as the old rhyme goes) I say, yes, Magpie, I know. If I see another (two for joy, as the old rhyme goes) I will laugh - that too, I will say. The good with the bad. (Like a flower in midwinter. Like our prepaid love.) I see a brightening of cloud. Hear myself think: After all the terrible facts have been met, dear Grace, dear All, what will have we become? What breaks us, makes us: if we will bend, we will bloom again. Life is not meant to be unbroken. We must learn how to be broken. We must learn that we are not broken, that is not the right word. We are works in progress, unfinished always. At the end of a life you see a wholeness, an alpha to omega circle. You can hold that up to the light, admire it: but it is not really finished. Memory connects. Love connects. What connects, affects. What affects, continues. No wonder we love the weather so; the tides. Connect. Affect. Continue.

widower, swan, grief, happiness, memory, perception, love


Kwickix said…
Wow! Beautiful
Such a beautiful bittersweet post.

Yes, we are all works in progress. All connected in one way or another. Bless you for being there for your grandmother.

So much human energy is devoted to connecting with an unknowable infinite with so little appreciation for the finite beauty immediately before us. Your piece is full of wonderful reminders of this gap and how to bridge it.
Lisa - Sounds like you have a lovely relationship with your grandma and you are very lucky to have each other. So true about the powers of connection and I like your weather analogy. This was beautifully written.

Lisa Southard said…
Happy New Year dear lady! And thank you :-) xx
Lisa Southard said…
This sums up one of my biggest writing goals! I'm going to take a bow and then sit smugly sipping coffee awhile :-)
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you Julie - I am a little bit obsessed with weather but so far mostly good has come of it! I'm looking after our Grace today and she is currently fast asleep :-)
Geo. said…
Beautiful Lisa,"up to the light...but it is not really finished" is an excellent argument in favor of a hereafter. That so much passion, love, work and progress can be contained in one lifetime is an enigma we're facing now with Norma's mom. I guess that's why they taught us to be strong.
Lisa Southard said…
Sending wishes and words to keep you all strong and the enigma a postive experience xx
Teresa Cypher said…
Bless you for being such a wonderful granddaughter. And your grandma sounds like a sweetheart. I hope good things lie ahead for you this year. <3

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