One of V’s latest posts reminded me of the importance of attitude (and perspective). The archetypal significance associated with that of womanhood and “hair” has been indelibly inscribed on my heart forever. I want to share some of my memories with you in the form of an abstract poem. This is a poem of multiplicity. It is a tribute to one of the strongest women that I have ever encountered on this planet…my grandmother.
Part 1 – Spring
And there they walk, hand in hand. The memory drifts into consciousness as that ribbon unwinds itself from the Eternal Timepiece of her mind. Two sets of foot-prints are set upon that lonely stretch of beach; one large, confident and straight and the other small and meandering. The great Northern lake sends waves to lap against their feet on that warm summer day. The child stops and bends to pick up first one stone, then another. She offers these treasures to her Grandmother. A tangled piece of driftwood is taken in hand and cradled. Sunshine glinting off of waves. Smiles, laughter. A ribbon of eternity winds around that perfect timepiece.
Part 2 – Summer
Pansies. Blue, dark violet, yellow and white. Irises. Dark blue and poised stately. Dusty miller plants with their soft, velvety leaves. “Come, let me show you the garden,” she would chime as I walked through her door. Interested, disinterested, the young girl distracted. “But, I need to get ready for the dance,” the young girl would say as she twirled her hair and walked up the path. This will be important one day, and you know this as Truth (that wise voice inside the girl spoke). So attentively, her eyes absorbed the colours, the scents, the wonder and mystery of The Garden. Grandmother smiled. Love beaming. Warmth and hugs.
Part 3 – Fall
Studies. Dissections and classes with books. She sits at her computer. She is distracted. A phonecall disrupts her session of self-imposed restriction. “What?” “When?” “How?” and most importantly “WHY?” The young woman slumps in her chair. Tears stream down her face. Rivulets. “I will visit at Thanksgiving,” she sobs into the phone, “and I hope to see her then.” That metaphorical scalpel began to slice it’s way into her heart. Sadness and helplessness festered in her day to day world. Thoughts of anatomy, physiology replaced with fear, memories. The water lapping. Sunshine glinting. Soft warm hugs. Pansies of blue, dark violet and white. Cancer.
Part 4 – Winter
The white walls. Sterility of that room. A frail body lying upon a hospital bed. “Just a minute!” sounds a weak, but determined voice from within it’s walls. Footsteps stop. Anxious I wait before entering the room. From the corner of my eye, I see her struggle to place the hair. Once strawberry-blonde, now ashen-grey and synthetic. She adjusts and smoothes the piece atop her head. “Ok, come in…!” she chimes weakly to her guests. Pride and determination on her face as she watches me walk towards her. There is a loving, but defiant smile upon her face. Her sweet Lady face. Hot tears. I am choking on hot tears. “But, you are beautiful I say”, as I move towards her and hug her wasted frame. I feel the tendrils of her disease like insiduous roots inside of her. “You are beautiful.”
[My Grandmother died later that year – just before Christmas (winter of 2003)]
Dear Grandma (or Grammy as she was commonly called),
I was so happy that I had that chance to see you one last time before your soul moved on from this Earthly realm. You call your final resting place Heaven, I call it the Spirit World. You have always been a very strong symbol of strength in my life. I wish I could have told you this sooner. Your unwavering spiritualism and devotion to God, inspired me to seek my own path towards the Light. Even as you lay in a weakened state in that hospital bed, I sensed your courage, your elegance and your poise. You have, and always will be, a true Lady to me. We *lost* you, knowing and hoping, that you would be safe in the hands of your beloved saints and angels. And, for the record Dear Lady…Pansies are one of my favourite flowers and I adore the number “3”. I love you.