February 10 was the second anniversary of my grandma's death. It hardly seems possible that she's been gone that long, hardly seems possible that two years of my life have come and gone since that day, hardly seems possible that I still miss her as much as I do. I spent the 10th hanging out with my grandparents on my dad's side and then having dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. But first I went to Rosecrans. I'd never been.
Well, I'd been. I'd seen the cemetery before but not since she's been there. I'd never seen her memorial. I told Garrett that we were going to a place so that we could remember Grandma Betty. I did not tell him that her ashes were there. That would have been a really big and potentially traumatizing thing to expect a three-year-old to deal with. We got there and walked up to her plaque. I figured I'd be a little emotional. I mean, I can get choked up looking at the head stone of a total stranger and wondering what happened in between the dates. I find myself pondering what the dash stands for and who mourns when they think of that person. I warned Garrett that I might cry but it would be a good cry. It would be because I missed my grandma. I showed my sons where she was and lifted Garrett so he could put his hands on her stone. Then he asked me if we could "remember" all the other people that were there. I told him that we didn't know the other people but he could walk down the sidewalk if he wanted to. That wasn't the best idea because he wanted to take each and every flower that he found. "Mommy, can I take this one?" No. "This one?" No. And so on. Finally I asked him if he wanted to play in the car while mommy and Matthew "remembered" Grandma. That sounded like the best idea ever, apparently.
I don't really think dead people can hear us when we talk to them but it didn't stop me. I introduced Matthew to my Grandma for the first time. I held him up and he put his little hands on her plaque. Then I started to cry. After I wiped the tears from my eyes, I put him in his car seat and got Garrett out to say goodbye. Holding him up again (she's in the second row from the top of the wall) he asked me a question.
G: Mommy, can I talk to Grandma Betty?
G: Can she hear me?
Me: Well, I'm not sure how that works but you can say whatever you want.
G: (Ridiculously loud...screaming, even) HI GRANDMA BETTY! I LOVE YOU! I MISS YOU! (Switching to a whisper) Do you think she heard me all the way in heaven?
Me: Yes. I do.Truly, I think all the dead in that entire cemetery heard him. I started laughing but since I'd already cried a little the tears welled up--confused whether I was happy or sad--and all the months that she held on to life so she could see her first great-grandson, so she could see him have his first Christmas, so she could be at his first birthday party came flooding to the surface and the tears spilled over. She'll never know how thankful I am that she held on for all of those moments, and so many more. And I don't know that Garrett will ever know what a tremendous role he played in her life. Hers is a stone with a dash that I am proud to have been a part of. As my tears spilled over Garrett, who was in my arms, asked me why I was crying. I miss Grandma, I replied as I wiped one away.
"Oh mommy," my tenderhearted boy whispered, "it's okay." And he reached up and wiped away another. He cracks me up. He cares for me. He's special that son of mine.
Oh, and he can raise my blood pressure to the boiling point but that's a blog for another time...