Dear Grandma –
I got your note today. It was the Averill Tax Service logo that caught my eye and made me pause before throwing what I thought was a scrap of paper away. I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s been so long since I’ve seen your handwriting and your words went straight in. I’m sure I’ve seen this before, but if so, it’s probably been over 25 years. It was all new.
You asked me to write you, so I am. I’m horrible at keeping in touch, I wish I was better.
When you died, I was still living in Mississippi. I remember flying back to Michigan for your funeral and in my bag I carried a card from this guy I had met. He didn’t know my family but cared about me and wanted to send them a note of sympathy. He was a great guy. So great, I married him only 5 months later. Not sure how you would have felt about that though since we eloped without telling anyone. But we can talk about that another time. You would have been sad that you missed it. It’s all good now. His name is Drew.
We got married and moved to Lancaster County, PA. Not sure how you would have felt about that either, too far away. But we did and it turned out well. I always missed Michigan though and it still is home in my heart. Pennsylvania was a hard place for me for many years but when we had our first child, I started making friends. I have three kids now, you would LOVE them. How do I know that? I know that because you loved your family, all of us. As a mom, I now understand your loyalty to all your kids and grandkids- the emotions are deep and wide. As a mom, I understand all your worries now too, so much is out of our control and truthfully, nothing turns out exactly how you had hoped. But I’m always adjusting, some days better than others. My kid names are Abbey, Josh and Will and get THIS- Abbey will be a teenager in only a few weeks. I have a teenager! I’ve had so much fun watching my parents be grandparents to my kids, you should see your son. He plays so hard with them he exhausts himself within hours. I think he’s learned to take it much easier. He fishes with them, camps with them, makes them popcorn and watches movies and most recently- he slept on top of his (flat roof) garage overnight with Abbey. She loved that and I barely slept knowing they were up there. Let’s say this- he’s great at making memories.
When I read your note, I felt 12 again. I was right back in your bed, sleeping in the deep dip in the middle. Remember how much you loved Matlock and Murder She Wrote? You always wanted to watch it with me and then as soon as the opening credits ended you were already snoring. Every. Time.
Those weeks you took me up to the cottage and we spent all that time together? They were the best. Bagel bites, cheese and crackers, flat pop, boat rides, walks, and how you never would go swimming with me. You hated the water, but I never minded. I loved the lake. I loved that you brought me there. I loved that you just sat on the dock and watched me. We had ups and downs but we always knew you loved us. Greatest gift you could give. Love and attention.
I wish we could appreciate and understand those things then like we do now. But, that’s just not how it works. I just wanted you to know that I did appreciate it. I always knew you loved me and loved to be with me. I just never understood how important that was at the time.
I never thought of myself as someone who needed a place to visit those who are gone. But, I have visited your grave several times. Standing over it, seeing your name, it’s always emotional for me. Pearl Louise Averill. Someone once so alive and vibrant, now just a memory. You made death so real for me and as much as I resist the thought, I appreciate it. You showed us it was ok to move on.
I miss you. We all do. Thanks for the note, whenever you wrote it. I’m so glad I found it again.
I’m unsure about so many things, but this I hope-
We’ll meet again.