I was raised by my Grandmother. She is probably the most influential person in my life, imparting so much of my values and self-perception (I always joke that she was a feminist before the word was even invented). I lost her in April 2017, just 3 months before I was diagnosed. And though she passed before I received the news, I’ve come to believe that she knew, and found a way to show her love and support even after her departure.
The day after her burial, my husband (out of the blue) asked me to come with him downstairs to check on some boxes we had stored in my Dad’s garage. On the floor was a solitary box filled with handfuls of cards from my 18th birthday years ago. Something told me to skim through them and just like finding something you knew you were meant to find, I saw a card with her handwriting: “DREA”, in all caps. Tears started flowing as I gingerly opened the envelope. In it was, in all its irony, a sympathy card flanked by a poem and her distinctive cursive handwriting. Her words were simple, wishing me a happy valentines and a happy birthday, and instruction to wear her gift to my party. That gift was an amethyst necklace – her fondness of giving birthstones as presents ever present. At the time, I thought the card was meant to provide comfort at a time of mourning. Now I know it was also her way of telling me that she is still watching over me, still loving me, still protecting me.
I wrote this poem the day I had to get a bone scan. The results were all clear. ❤
It’s so strange to think
That 16 years ago to this day,
your hand touched the pen that touched this paper.
You made it so that I would find this card
inside an old box on the garage floor years later.
I saw your handwriting – DREA – in all caps.
I opened the card and it was a pretty picture with the words
“You Are Not Alone”.
Inside was a prayer and a love note in your handwriting.
“Just know…if you need me, I’m here for you.”
You always knew the words to say.
In the simplest yet purest forms.
This was your gift to me even before I knew I needed it.
I’ve kept this card close to me at all times.
My calling card to you.
And today when I cried to you,
you did not fail.
You were there with me.
Right next to me.
Thank you for being my angel.
Happy Valentines Day, Grandma…miss and love you always.
P.S. I wear it every day.