With the holidays nearing, I love creating nostalgic memories for myself but also my children. My daughter, CoCo, has the personality type where individualized attention is more valuable to her than all the Shopkins or My Little Ponies in the world. So tonight . . . it was the two of us chasing sunsets with chocolate smiles.
And then she mused, "Momma, I miss Gramma Lola."
Wow. It was the weight of a thousand bricks. My first holiday season without my Gramma since I was born. Forty years of memories, and my baby girl? Six years of memories with her beloved Great-Gramma.
"I wish we could visit her in Heaven," the little voice said from the backseat.
"Me too," I responded. "We can visit her grave if you'd like. I know you've never been."
"Yes! Momma, please?"
I'm not a grave-visitor by principle. I prefer to remember my loved ones as they were and think of them as they are with the Lord, rather than sit opposite a cold, unfriendly reminder of the finality of death. But CoCo? She was grappling with that first pang of holiday nostalgia, of grief, of the empty hole left in her heart. It was time to visit Gramma Lola.
So we did. The little walk to her gravestone was marked by rows of American flags left over from Veteran's Day. One perched alongside Gramma Lola's gravestone, heralding Grampa Don's bravery from World War II.
"Why is that there?" CoCo inquired. So we chatted. About the war, about heroism, about Grampa Don who she never met but who taught momma to drink coffee. "Ohhhh, so he IS a hero!" CoCo proclaimed. Yes, love, yes he is.
We walked alongside some other markers. I heard the echo of my own mother's voice in mine as I repeated the stories I'd heard when I was CoCo's age.
"That's Great-Gramma Eva Marie-- your Great-Great Gramma. I was named after her."
"Yep. My middle name."
"ohhhhhh." That sacred realization of family heritage.
"Ohhh, that's Aunt Avenelle. She was a crochety old woman who lived in an ancient house with dusty antiques and wore her hair in a Victorian bun and reminded momma of a ghost when I was little."
"Was she mean?"
"No. She was just, persnickety. Opinionated."
"Like you, Momma?"
Touche, Little One.
We returned to Gramma Lola's grave. Two little blue eyes stared down in silence. Watching, reading,
"I miss her, Momma."
"I do too."
"I wish I could tell her I love her one more time."
Crouching beside my hurting little one, I pulled her onto my knee. Maybe it's the writer in me, or maybe my faith fills in gaps with hope, but I responded.
"Well, what I always like to do, is ask Jesus if he'd give her a message from me."
Bright eyes shifted to my face.
"Oh Momma, can we?!"
So I prayed. Through a choked throat, tears burning my eyes. "Jesus, CoCo and I were hoping you could pass on a message to Gramma Lola and Grampa Don for us. Tell them we love them."
"Especially Gramma Lola," CoCo whispered.
"Especially Gramma Lola," I echoed. "And tell Gramma Lola that we're blowing her hugs and kisses."
As my prayer ended, in full belief, we kissed our fingertips and together blew the kisses heavenward. And then, before I could even move, CoCo whispered, "I just need to give her a hug. A real one."
So she did.
I didn't hurry her. This was her moment between Jesus, CoCo, and Gramma Lola. When she finally rose, she gave me a smile. It wasn't sad, or grieving. It was hopeful.
"I bet Gramma Lola has coffee in Heaven." CoCo grasped my hand and we started for the car.
"I'm sure of it," I nodded.
Just as I'm sure that night, a little girl's prayers were answered and Gramma Lola caught our Christmas kisses.
Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher's Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.
Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures atjaimejowright.com.