It was a Sunday afternoon. The air was crisp and chilled. We’d all come straight home after worship. I had an eerie feeling, one that I just couldn’t shake.
Something of a memory I’d tripled, saran-wrapped. To make sure no one else, not even I could pry open but then, nothing could stop that feeling.
So I flung the door open. The succulent plant was where I left it. The living room light was still on. The children entertained themselves in the background. Soft dainty flares of citrus and vanilla added a nice touch. I knew I was home but as soon as I shut the door. I said, “Lord I could use some good news right now.”
The phone in my purse vibrated. I answered it. The voice on the other end sounded tired but peaceful.
That was my grandma’s name. All of my short life we’ve called her Shirley, not grandma. She preferred it. She wasn’t into being an old lady nor anybody’s’ grandma for that matter. Shirley was her name. She needed people to say it, so we did just that.
Me: “Hi Shirley”
Shirley: “When are you coming home?”
Me: “I’m thinking of coming to Texas in the spring. Why?
“Is everything okay?” I heard you were in the hospital.”
Shirley: “Just come home.”
Me: “I’ll be there before you know it.”
In early spring, I’d packed up my three little babies. I put my babies in the car. Said my prayers and drunk loads and loads of coffee on the road. Which did not settle the nerves, I think it was the coffee. I’m pretty sure it was.
I started seeing trees everywhere. Trees on the road. Trees crossing the roads. Trees waving as I drove by. Trees standing in the sun. Trees dancing in the distance. Trees walking out the National Forest. Trees beyond the horizon. Trees accompanying me onto the highway. Trees walking out of the midst. So many trees, they were talking to me.
After 72 long hours on the road. We made it back to San Antonio T.X.
Shirley held my youngest daughter in her hands. She had a stroke a few days before we arrived. She couldn’t speak.
As the nurse walked in, she said: “my, my, Shirley all these grandbabies are yours!” Shirley smiled. I brushed her hair through like old times. I remembered, she never liked the ends to frizz up. I made sure to get that part right.
I told her, “Shirley I didn’t have ten kids, as you wanted.”(inside joke) “I only had three and that boat has sailed. I wasn’t planning to have any more.” She laughed as if she could burst right-out of that sick bed. Get up and become her old self one more time.
It was the last time, I’d see Shirley alive. So now when I get that eerie feeling, I think of trees and Shirley.~your Kindness sister Krissy