Friday, June 30, 2017

Stairway to Heaven: A Tribute to Grandma

Photo by Jennifer E. Miller 2017

Stairway to Heaven: A Tribute to Grandma

Jennifer E. Miller

Time flies like a magic carpet. As though in a dream, it glides through the sky until it's yanked out from underneath; and the rider falls to their end. Grim, but true; life is short. At least that's what all the elderly people say. Grandma's magic carpet was yank away on May 22, 2017.

At nearly 94 years old, she lived through milestones of events, like anyone else: weddings, funerals, babies, grandbabies, great-grandbabies. A world war, nuclear threats, cable TV, and Nintendo (and you'd best believe Grandma knew what that was. Perhaps even engaged with it.) She lost her husband, and persevered on with life--I mean her magic carpet ride. The funny thing is, as all these countless events unfolded, time was slipping away. A new grandbaby is wonderful news, but also a sign of life edging closer to its expiration. Of course, we don't necessarily see it that way at the time; we simply enjoy the gifts granted to us.

The day Grandma left us was a beautiful day. I told her the sky was bright blue and the sun warmed the air to a temperature above my preference. The songbirds chirped insistently and the quail plotted, once again, to snatch strawberries from my garden. And speaking of gardens, the potato plants began sprouting, and I am looking forward to green beans again this year. Do you remember, Grandma, those summers spent on your patio snapping green beans? My irises were blooming yellow, violet, mauve, red, and white. (Ironic. When these flowers bloom, it's my reminder to clip them and head to the cemetery where I placed them on other ancestors' graves.) I held Grandma's hand and mindlessly chattered about all these things. I could've chosen any other topic, but I chose the simple things that God created for us. The things she showed me how to enjoy in life; to enrich my own magic carpet ride. 

That afternoon, I let go of her warm hand, left her side, and soon she was gone.

Strangely, I believe I was aware when it happened. I arrived home, my mind drained, and I lay down in bed to take a nap. At some point I woke to my cat tapping my mouth with her paw. She doesn't do that to me. In a moment my phone rang with the news. More irony: I was asleep in my own bed, when Grandma left Earth from hers. Call it whatever you want. Call me a loony skeptic fit to be a guest on those freakish early morning radio shows about ghosts and aliens. Things happen for a reason. There are no coincidences in life. Later, I realized I forgot to include Grandma's birthday when I made the 2017 calendars. Was this a subconscious knowledge she wouldn't make it until then? Or a "coincidence?" Perhaps delayed intuition is a good term.

Grieving is different for everyone. The following day, my family went to the lake. Fresh air is good for you; Grandma knew that, too. She walked her yard and noticed things like a newly sprouted plant or bird's nest. I find myself like her in this aspect. When it was time to leave the lake, I gazed up at the sky and noticed an odd streaky cloud. It appeared to ascend from a hilltop and stretch itself upward. It looked like a stairway in the sky. A stairway to Heaven. I snapped a photo with my cellular phone and as I looked at the screen to make sure I got the image, I noticed something else. At the top of the "stairway" was a face. A second later, the clouds had floated on, erasing their previous formation. 

The face was Grandma's, of course. She checked on us one last time before stepping through into the next life. Perhaps her magic carpet transformed into that stairway to Heaven. Maybe even lining the steps for her. The departed don't get red carpet treatment on their way to Heaven; they receive magic carpet treatment.

We will all take over your magic carpet from here.

Love you forever, Grandma. 

No comments:

Post a Comment