The texts say that you are struggling and my heart hurts.
We were not always close, you and I. The evidence of that being my teens and twenties. But Grams, I turn forty this summer and somewhere in these last years, you and I came back together.
I can do nothing but write. I am powerless and held hostage here waiting for word. I say that I am praying and I AM but Grams, I want to whisper in your ear on the chance that you would hear me. I want you to know all the things that sit on my heart right now.
I remember the towel. You taught me (and ALL the grand-kids) to swim. When I finally swam the length of the pool, you took me to Big Wheel to choose my own beach towel. I chose Tweety Bird and then you and I went for ice cream. I remember it so clearly.
I remember the skinny dipping. When I would spend the night, we would wait until the dark of night and we girls would wrap ourselves in our towels and head out to the pool. You taught us how to slip in gracefully without exposing ourselves above water. You know, because we were ladies. The towel discard was an art form. You were the master. I remember the giggles as we swam free in the pool like we were breaking the law. Carefree. Happy.
I remember So. Much. Potato. Salad. ALL the potato salad. Every summer. Multiple times a summer. If there is grilling happening, there must be potato salad. Grandma, I love your potato salad.
I remember the T- shaped Thanksgiving tables and the pewter silverware that now resides in my cabinet. I remember the Waldorf salad. My oldest brother's absolute favorite.
I remember Thriller. Yes, THAT Thriller. I remember watching MJ dance and the behind the scenes VHS and the recreating the dance on the rug.
OH, THE RUG.
I remember the rug. The huge braided rug in the Rec room. It's where I fashioned the most poignant stage shows of my childhood. My very best song and dance performances happened there. And yeah, we might have forced our audience to attend but I choose to remember that my aunts, uncles, cousins and you and gramps attended of your own free will. Just let me remember it that way, ok?
But still....THE RUG! Christmas happened there. Atari. The organ played there. My white tights overstretched and hung dirty, pill-y and loose there. We played there from noon to dusk. My cousins, my brothers and I. We spent hours and hours making memories on that rug. In the Rec room. On St. Nicholas Street.
I remember St. Nicholas Street. Ya know, because Santa always stopped there first. For obvious reasons. And that is where I knew you the best. That house holds so much. It holds my memories of you. California Raisins. Nutcrackers. Picnic Tables.
I remember Vacation Bible School and all the skits you and I worked on together. You -the artist and scenic designer. Me- the acTOR(!) and theatrical sensation in our tiny little country church.
I remember singing for you. And Grams, I wish I could sing for you right now. But I'm here. And you are there. And all I can do is pray. So I am singing from here. And I know that you cannot hear me. But I AM singing to you. I just keep going through all the Broadway tunes we used to listen to together. Cats, Carousel, West Side Story...
And as I sit here and pray, I keep remembering a Winter night. I was laying on Grandpa's lap and watching the HBO special of Simon and Garfunkel in Central Park. And I remember so clearly watching you stand in the kitchen and sing quietly. Almost as though you were afraid someone would hear you. I never let on, but Grams, I heard you. I watched you sing. I was mesmerized. I wanted to sing with you but Grandpa was singing in my ear and I just watched you. You were so beautiful.
"Sail on Silver Girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine......"
We've had a rocky road, you and I. You know that. But despite it all and in honor of it all, I love you. And I am so happy that I had the chance to actually tell you. I only wish I could tell you again right now this minute. So here I am writing because there is nothing else I can do. You've fought all of your life. I know that now.
It's OK to go. It's ok not to fight. Your time has come to shine. Sail on, Silver Girl. I love you. You are loved. You have always been loved.