Dear Gran Edie,
Today, my precious grandmother “Gran Edie” is celebrating her 20th year in heaven.
Oh, how I miss you, Gran Edie. Oh, how I love you. Not a day goes by that I do not think about you and hold you close to my heart.
To celebrate her today, I post a poem I wrote for her nearly 3 years ago:
Dear Gran Edie,
I wonder what your greenhouse would look like right now.
The cactus would surely be in bloom and
you would have resurrected the sweet face
of that sunflower
who has bowed her head
these last 17 years you’ve been gone.
What kind of gardens do you tend in heaven?
Are they the forgotten ones along the highway
that only you acknowledge,
that only you pull over for,
even though when you get out of “Whitey” the Honda
you expose your plastic polio leg to the world?
I wonder if you’re still friends with all the folks
you used to visit in Fernandina’s nursing homes.
You were their nurse and their home,
even the ones who consciously commented
on just how much you’d “put on the weight!”
I still loved you, Gran Edie.
I even loved the way those damn cigarettes
made your laugh husky, your voice raspy –
until they awoke that insidious creature inside,
and he scarred your lungs
and then spread to your brain
when no one was watching —
when we were out in the yard,
playing on the rope swing,
throwing a stick to Tor and Buddy, and
waiting for your Andes mints to freeze just right
in your cold icebox.
I wonder if you know that you’re the namesake
of my little girl.
I want to sing lullabies to “Martha Edith”
and call her “Edie” for short
and sigh when she responds,
knowing your glitter is in her eyes.
Well, as you know, I haven’t yet found that fella
who could give me that daughter
I’ve already named,
already held in my arms
and in my silly little heart.
You know all of that
because your blood is also mine
and you’re in Mama’s daily greetings,
her worries, and in
her gnarled and beautiful hands.
And so you tell me to tend to the wildflowers
and give thanks for the children I already have
in my care.
And I, your 30-year-old grandchild (almost),
open the door to your greenhouse
and finger your seeds in my hands.
July 16, 2009