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Anniversaries and After

This weekend recently marked the first full year since my grandmother has been gone.

I keep seeing little signs of her. Mostly hummingbirds. They were her favorite, and they’ve been popping up everywhere I look. I saw one in the form of a hand-felted ornament, and I brought her home with me. She watches over my bedside table now.

I’ve seen her in my apartment. I have a gorgeous hand mirror that used to belong to her, and occasionally, I’ll hold it up and swear I might have seen her reflection instead of mine.

Some of her earrings hang up on the bathroom wall, and sometimes I catch her gently putting them on, a glint of gold in the incandescent light.

Her old wooden spoon feels warm in my hand as I stir bread dough in the kitchen, and I can hear her voice above me, guiding me through her cheese biscuit-making lessons.

As I was sorting through a stack of old birthday cards, congratulations, and letters, I came across a little envelope with my name spelled out in slanting capital script. As I pulled out the contents, I found a recipe in my grandmother’s hand, a small newspaper clipping, and a short note. Signed Grammy. With oodles and boodles and forty kidoodles of love.

Each time I remember her is another moment I have to heal. The ache always requires healing. Every single time. I know it will never end.

But I don’t want it to. The ache is what I have left.

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The Missing

I miss my grandmother.

I had the privilege of being close to her, if not always in proximity, then at least knowing that she was always just a phone call away.

I should have called her more.

I always loved her laugh, and I loved listening to her stories, the way she told them in her languid Southern drawl, reminiscent of humid Georgia days spent sipping sweet tea out on the front porch.

I should have listened more.

I loved the way she would slowly retreat into her own self after a while, knowing that she was becoming overwhelmed with people and socialization, but also knowing that she gave that trait to me.

I should have held her hand more.

I loved the eyes she had for my grandpa, always rolling to the ceiling in exasperation, always floating back down with so much love for the man who called her his bride.

I should have watched her more.

I loved the way she loved us, knowing that I could always find solace on the couch sitting next to her, as she would brush my hand with her beautifully crooked fingers, a little space of quiet in my grandmother’s presence.

The more I miss her, the more I love her.

On and on it goes.