The bond between a young girl and her grandmother
|There she sat in her white wicker rocking chair, carefully placed under the shade of our two vibrant pink Dogwood trees in the backyard. She smiled, when she saw me coming out of the back screened door holding two glasses of lemonade. She looked as peaceful as a dove, sitting there rocking back and forth.
"Here you go Grandma!" I handed her the cold tall glass.
Taking hold of it with two hands, she thanked me and invited me to sit down next to her on the other rocking chair that was set there just for me. This was a special place for both of us because we both loved sharing time together since she came to live with us 10 years ago.
Momma brought Grandma Helena home to live when she witnessed with her very own eyes how quickly Grandma was forgetting things. Some days she would forget to eat; other times she'd forget to take her medicine. When it got to that point, Momma decided it was time to have her here with us.
Daddy didn't mind. He said he wished he could have done it for his own mother, but she died when he was just ten. Both were against putting her in a nursing home, and I was grateful to have my grandma with me. Funny, with her memory fading, how she remembered long ago when she was a child and all that she was taught as a kid. Here I was sixteen now, and I still loved to listen to Grandma as she talked of days of old.
"It's hot today Grandma!" I said, fanning myself with my free hand.
"What month is it child?" Grandma asked.
"It's July, Grandma! Almost your birthday! In 7 days!" I proclaimed.
I talked louder. "July 25th! That's your birthday! Just 7 more days Grandma!"
"Don't make a party. I don't think I can make it for the party child; I think I have other plans."
"What do you mean Grandma? It'll just be us. Mom and I are going to bake your favorite, German Chocolate cake."
"Oh! I'll see if I can change plans child but I don't think they'll let me!" patting my hand she continued. "Remind me to take some blossoms with me so I can give a bouquet when I go!"
Puzzled, I passed it off to her usual fantasy. Mom called it 'Dementia'. She said that Grandma could remember the distant past but sometimes couldn't remember what she had for breakfast that morning.
"Alright Grandma!" I replied with a smile.
"Yes, it sure is peaceful here under these trees child." Rocking back and forth. "Did I ever tell you the story my mother told me of the Dogwood?"
"No Grandma, tell me." Sitting up straight now, listening intently.
"Back during the time of Jesus, the Dogwood is said to have grown as big as an oak tree and was a very strong tree. This is the tree they used to make Jesus' cross." She said, pointing up towards the trees. "But trees are alive and they know things. This tree was very distressed after it was used for the purpose of crucifying our Lord." Pointing once again at the trees above, "Child, get me those blossoms! I wanna take those with me when I go."
"Oh oh," I thought, "Grandma's forgetting again." But she went on with her story as I got up to get a bunch off and handed it to her.
Pointing at the blossoms, she began again. "Look child, the blossoms are in the form of a cross--two long and two short petals. See here, in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember."
"Gee, Grandma I didn't know that."
"This is a special tree child. I love these trees..." her voice began to fade, and as I looked at her, she looked as if she was tired.
"Grandma, why don't we go inside and take a nap. You look very tired."
"No," she said looking down at the blossoms I had given her from the tree. "I want to sit here for a while longer."
"Do you want me to take that lemonade for you Grandma? Did you have enough?"
"Yes, I've had enough! I'll be alright."
"Alright, I'm going in for awhile and help Momma. I'll come back out in a while to check on you."
"Don't forget!" Grandma piped up. "I want to take these blossoms with me."
"Yes I know Grandma." I said as I got up and made my way back to the house.
About an hour passed of helping Momma with the chores of dusting and vacuuming.
"I think it's time to bring your grandma in Missy." Momma said to me dusting the last of the knic-knacs.
"I was just going to go out there Momma." I said, as I rolled up the cord to the vacuum and set it to the side in the living room.
Walking out the back screened door, I could see grandma still looking down at the blossoms.
As I approached her, I wasn't sure if she was looking at the blossom or sleeping.
"Grandma?" walking closer, I repeated myself again. My heart was pounding now.
"Grandma?" I shook her gently, but something was wrong. Grandma didn't move. I quickly called loudly for my mother.
"Momma" I screamed. "Come quickly!"
My mother knew from my yell what had happened. Tears flowed from our eyes, as I knew she had died holding the blossoms from the Dogwood to hand to the Lord when he greeted her. Her words made sense to me now--We held this sweet wise lady between the two of us. It would be a great loss, but she died where she felt most peaceful, under the shade of these old Dogwood trees.
word count: 1000 exact
Second Place in the June 2009 Paper Doll Short Story Contest
Featured in Shadows: A Paper Doll Gang Publication Volume 1, Issue 2
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