I awoke yesterday morning in tears after a most vivid dream of my grandmother. She has been gone for almost 20 years now; though the emotions the dream brought back were as real as the day she died.
I had been thinking about her the previous night, remembering a house of hers from my childhood. Though my thoughts were not of her exactly, I must have been thinking of her in the recesses of my mind, and needing her guidance, for I believe she visited me in that dream.
The setting was the same house from my childhood-dark hallways leading to bedrooms full of mystery and excitement. The characters were my current family members-cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles-looking exactly as they do this very day. The additional character was a woman of the past, my grandmother. She looked the same as I always remembered: wearing a white short-sleeved sweatshirt, elastic-waist jeans, and her signature curly hair. She was sick in my dream, suffering from the same illness that claimed her life. Somehow it wasn’t unusual to see her there, taking the place of my grandfather’s current wife, as if nothing had ever changed.
I vividly recall chasing after my youngest cousin, trying to get her ready to go, when I ran into my grandmother walking down a set wooden steps. Knowing that she was frail after just having had yet another surgery to rid her body of the cancer overtaking it, I moved aside to let her pass. She noticed me and asked me to stop. She told me that she had remembered how to dance that previous week. I, nodded, knowing that the surgery had brought back memories long ago forgotten. She said she remembered dancing but no longer could. It made me sad, so, sensing my discomfort, she placed her hand below my chin. With this touch, I remembered, in my dream, the warmth of her hand, the bones and veins pulsing through the thin skin of her palm. I couldn’t help myself; I began to cry, knowing this would be temporary and that she would soon be gone. I did not want her to see me cry, so I held my head down and kissed the palm of her hand. With this final gesture, she said a few encouraging words: that I would be able to wear a bathing suit one day and that my book would be published.
You would have to have known my grandmother to be able to decipher these words. The bathing suit remark was because as a child she was always so concerned about my well-being. She made sure I washed between my toes when I showered, made sure I didn’t watch too much television, instead instilling a love of reading before bed. Knowing that I had inherited our family’s penchant toward food, she was always concerned that I would be unhealthy. She knew how easily gaining weight was and how difficult it was to take it off. The part about my book, I’m sure, was her way of saying I would do everything I said I would. As a little girl, I professed that I would make something of myself. So far I have, but lately the lack of a partner and a child has plagued me. I went to school, started a career, but the family hasn’t followed as I always hoped it would. I have learned to focus my energy on those things I can control, like my career, and I know her words were only words of encouragement. She knows that if I want to finish writing my book, I will.
Waking up with the final words being the success of my book renewed my energy and I am now writing again with even more vigor than before. People come into our lives and change it. I am forever grateful that my grandmother, though gone from this earth, still comes into my life and changes it. It is like those books that she insisted I read: you can pick one up and instantly be transported to a different time and place. As in my dreams, I am allowed to see and hear my grandmother once again. I dedicate this blog post to her and vow to be the success she knew I could be.