I dreamed of my Grandma Christine this morning. I could see, hear, touch and smell every detail in the room and we laughed together for so long. The kind of laughter that hurts your stomach because it is so sweet. I'm still amazed by the detail of the experience...I saw a room I didn't even know that I remembered. And she looked so beautiful...all old and rosy...full of life...full of love. The urge to crawl back down the rabbit hole back to a place of safety and youth and relationship was overwhelming...I don't remember in color while I'm awake.
My grandma was old the entire time I knew her. She was 42 when she had my mom and by the time I came along she was 64 and by the time I remember her she was in her 70's. She would babysit us all the time because my grandfather passed away when I was 2 and so she devoted her life to us. That sounds wonderful but I remember not always liking her. Simply because she was at our house so often she would discipline us more than my other grandma(and it was always a competition of who was nicer to me...and Grandma Aardsma never won.)
Grandma Christine was not a push over; she was a survivor. The most amazing kind. In a world that did not respect woman, let alone single women, she persevered and was self-sufficient. Qualities that I admire now as an adult, but wasn't too fond of as a child. She was not afraid to say no but was always gracious to say yes. She took care of everybody...even her "old friends." And that is how she would describe them, which was hilarious because she was just as old or older than they were. But Grandma was not afraid of her age and never let it be a handicap. When her friends were shutting down with frailty she was bursting with energy. She never judged them but was kind to a fault. As a child, I was jealous; as an adult I'm in awe.
Grandma was always smiling, she was not a gossip or a complainer. I remember her smiling and laughing. I remember her hand on my head...this morning more real than it has ever been.
I remeber her belly, which as a child I thought felt like a real bowl of jelly...I remember telling her that...she would just laugh and let me lay there...resting. I think that is my favorite memory of Grandma...the times I would get to lay in bed with her early in the morning and we would just "be" together. Ordinarily, she was always doing something, always busy, always on task, but in the morning before she got up from bed she would grant me the most valuable gift of all, her time.
I never got to say good-bye. I was too busy being a new mom in a different state. Too busy to take time to visit her when she was ailing, too wrapped up in myself, my family, my problems to go and say good-bye. Too afraid to see her frail.
But this morning, I woke up in her living room, laughing together with her. It was so wonderful. She is my hero...I am her namesake...I am so thankful.
Love you Grandma.