Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grandma's Legacy

I have had the same re-occurring dream since I was a young girl. Most re-occurring dreams are scary or traumatic, at the very least puzzling. In my re-occurring dream I experience the elation of suddenly attaining everything I ever wished for.

I lost my only grandmother as a young girl. She symbolized for me everything that was good, kind, loving and right in the world. She was a happy woman. Widowed before I was even born, she still lived each day to the fullest, despite having lost the love of her life at too early of an age. She sang and played piano, watched Wild Kingdom on the Public Broadcasting channel. She knitted beautiful sweaters for family members, making her own yarn-covered buttons, and fed the homeless bacon and eggs on her back porch.

Going to Grandma’s house, for me, was always a bit like going on a long awaited and much needed vacation. I was so happy to have arrived that somehow I could never fully relax into the moment without the haunting realization that our time together was finite. Grandma’s house, to me, was magical. It was filled with beautiful elegant things that had been lovingly collected from around the world. A highly polished piece of wood artfully carved in the shape of a cupped leaf. A multi-faceted lead crystal paperweight that scattered rainbows in all directions. A grandfather clock that chimed reassuringly in the blackness of night. Grandma’s house was safe. Above all, Grandma’s house was love.

In my dream I am aware that Grandma is gone, passed on. However I am standing in her house which in reality was sold long ago, and all of her belongings along with it. I stand in her house now with her belongings intact. I walk through in awe taking in all the treasured memories of days long since passed and I am filled up once again to be in Grandma’s space surrounded by all her treasured keepsakes. When I awake I am wrapped in the sensation of love, peace and total fulfillment. I wake happy, joyful and grateful for the experience. The sensation frequently outlasts a day.

Until this evening however, I had never really understood what the message of my dream was. I have read that re-occurring dreams only present themselves as long as the dreamer fails to grasp their meaning. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been in much of a hurry to “crack that nut.” But this evening I couldn’t help but reflect on my dream and soon its meaning became clear. As I walk through Grandma’s house, eyes falling on the many treasures she so-lovingly collected and cared for, not only do I re-live happy experiences of my own but I am witness to the way that Grandma lived, surrounded by beauty, engaging fully in life - or rather, ringing every last drop out of it. Never growing too weary or too bored to see all that life has to offer. Never giving up on seeing beauty, or being too jaded to get involved or reach out to someone in need. Never without faith, always optimistic, full of love, and full of life. It’s clear to me now that that is the message of my dream. I look around Grandma's living room and see her zest for life, her love of music and nature and travel, and above all, her refusal to give in to the mundane aspects of life.

Never mind that she has long since left this earth, for she is very much alive, as is her legacy which lives on forever not only in my heart, but in my dreams.


Paula said...

What lovely memories!

"I could never fully relax into the moment without the haunting realization that our time together was finite." OMG, I can so relate -- why do we do this to ourselves! I'm working on enjoying the journey and living in the moment, that's for sure...but it ain't always easy!

Laura Mika Benton said...

You look pretty darn relaxed in the photo! I think I could take a lesson from you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this. I felt like you were describing my grandmother and the same feelings I had when I visited her. What an amazing woman she was. Every time she saw me she would say, "My Treasure." She had such a wonderful spirit I wish the whole world could know her.