My grandma remains etched into my heart for these reasons: she is compassionate, her prayers never cease, and she always sees the best in others.
Her hair looks as though it has always been grey; she has eyes that resemble the juxtapose of life, bittersweet.
Happy, inviting, but also somber.
Greener than rural pastures in the Springtime, the safest place for the livestock to return home for a meal.
She smells of a woman who has only known home – Worcestershire sauce, dish soap, damp wrung out dishtowels, and the faint scent of flowers to balance things out. If warmth had a smell, she has it.
A voice that is soft yet convincing, the kind of voice where any question she asked no matter what it was, always resounded an “Are you okay?”.
We played games like Go Fish and Stealing The Pile (though maybe this was a name easiest for a child to comprehend, as I have never heard it anywhere else).
She let me win quite a bit.
When it was time to for her pray, she sat me down with a notebook and scissors and I’d cut paper into shapes I had made up, or draw a house with the triangle roof where smoke was billowing from the rectangle chimney;
She taught me to draw when I was three.
I’d wait for roast and do things toddlers did.
Safety was not scarce back then.
Rosary in hand and roast in the pot, she paced as she prayed at three each afternoon.
The pads of her fingers were tinged bright pink atop her light skin, like Saint Nick’s cheeks in Winter.
They donned tiny craters from being pressed firmly against the rosary’s beads.
Meticulously they crept from one bead to the next, not quite pouncing, and not gliding.
Repetition never looked this much like art, not even the Louvre could captivate me as much as my grandmother praying did.
Novenas and pleading whispers of love and well-wishes, devout fails to encompass her in her entirety.
In the NICU, she sat by my incubator day and night doing the very same pleading she does today.
The doctors told my family I would be deaf, dumb, blind, – invalid.
On to her knees, she dropped and refused to accept that. She tells me of the day when she bargained with Christ, The Virgin Mary, and His Disciples on my behalf often.
As fate would have it, in the NICU, there was a nurse who dropped an item made of glass within earshot and lo and beholds; it scared me!
This was her sign from above, that yes, I could indeed hear.
Though I have no memory of this, perhaps this is why her praying looked holy to me, for it was probably my first image of her.
As I grew older and lost my mother, I lost myself and so I lost others. Where others were quick to suggest foster homes, even as she aged she would say, “No, I can take care of Carla.”
She loved me through every cuss word I hurled in frustration.
She remained calm when I bared defensive fangs and rabid snarls.
She accepted my apologies quickly and then forgot that she had any reason to forgive me in the first place. I was undeserving, yet she never condemned me; She loved me, anyway.
She prayed and she was warm, and slow to blame if she ever did.
To me, she is love. It is with the same compassion that my grandmother extended to me that I shared her with you.
My grandmother is still living, steady as a slow gong, but she is somewhere else inside of herself due to dementia.
If she does not already have a first-class ticket to Heaven, it will look like less of a place to be.