Friday, April 9, 2010

Wishing For One More Memory

Have you ever had the smallest object, sound or smell take you back? Back to a happier time, a better memory, a place you wish you could somehow get to again? I have experienced moments like that all week long.

The recent heat wave brought with it two incredibly painful fever blisters. I have suffered with fever blisters since I was a child and I know exactly what to do – CARMEX, CARMEX & more CARMEX. As soon as I felt the first fever blister reaching the surface, I ran over to CVS and purchased a tube of Carmex immediately. As I removed the lid and circled my index finger around the container, I was instantly taken to another place.

I’m young again – maybe 8 or 9. I’m sitting on the couch with my Nana – watching The Price is Right. We’re drinking Coke Classic straight from the can as we guess the price of a Jamaican vacation in the bonus round. Laughing at my outrageous guess ($500 for a Jamaican vacation!?), Nana reaches for her tube of Carmex and begins to apply. I’ve never seen her use any lip balm or chap stick other than Carmex. She’s a woman of habit - brand loyal: only Coke Classic, only Pantene Pro-V, only Carmex, only Kraft mayonnaise, only Winston 500’s.

My cell phone rings – and just like that – I’m 25 again, sitting at my office desk. Wishing for one more episode of The Price is Right. Wishing for a chance to tell her that Carmex is my favorite too – mainly because the smell always reminds me of her. Wishing I could complain to her about my thighs, after all – she gave them to me. Wishing she could see the look in my eyes when I look at Steven – he is everything she ever wanted for me.

Later that evening as I drove home, I noticed how beautiful the flowers are this time of year. The tulips, pansies, petunias and daisies are bright and welcoming. A fragrant reminder of God’s love for His children of His creative hand at work in our lives.

Without warning, I was in another place. I’m a teenager sitting under the carport with my Mema. We’re drinking iced tea and eating cantaloupe on a spring afternoon. It’s one of those rare “life lesson” moments a granddaughter shares with her grandmother. “More important than anything else, Amber, be a woman of faith. The husband is the head of the household, but you are the backbone – and without your faith, your family will be lost.”

The light turns green and once again I’m pulled back to reality. At first, I wish for trivial happiness – wishing for one more afternoon under the carport. Wishing for one more lesson on how to make biscuits. Wishing for one more Sunday seated in the church pew beside her.

But the occurrence of two power memories in the same day is too much – and the pain quickly goes deeper. I’m heartbroken that my little brother Ethan, who is only six, won’t have memories of his grandmothers. I’m saddened that neither Nana nor Mema will get to see any of my children be born. I want so badly to tell them how much they mean to me – how I am a better woman because of their love. I want them to know that not a day goes by that I’m not in some way reminded of their existence – of their presence in my life.

Sometimes, when I’m sad like this, I like to pretend that on my wedding day, God called them to His side and pulled back the clouds. They stood there hand-in-hand as I walked down the aisle to the love of my life, the man they both hoped I would find. At first, Mema noted that my hair wasn’t quite big enough, but then she saw the silk handkerchief in my bouquet – it had belonged to her, my something borrowed, and with that tears came to her eyes. Nana barely recognized the woman I became in the seven years since she had passed – but she instantly remembered the ring on my left hand – for it was her wedding ring, an heirloom left to her firstborn grandchild. They stood there together – as all grandmothers should – and watched me walk down the aisle on the happiest day of my life.

And with that, I’m at peace again. I know in my heart I will see them again. Until then, I have powerful, happy memories to hold onto. I also have the hope of having a blonde haired, blue eyed granddaughter of my own. For I will have one more episode of The Price is Right and one more afternoon under the carport, it’s just this time, I will be the one sharing the wisdom.


Khristi said...

Beautiful writing, really beautiful! I had similar experience not too long ago. Justin and I went to Penn Station for dinner. I hadnt been there in ages, and couldnt remember why. As I sat down poured vinegar over my fries, it hit me. I had come here for fries and vinegar on the night my grandpa died. It literally took my breath away.

Aly @ Analyze This said...

Beautiful brought tears to my eyes!

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

Wow girl. You definitely brought tears to my eyes. I can't say I know how you feel but my prayers are with you to be strong during those sad times. I wish you the best! :)

mackenzie said...

this is beautiful. brought back so many memories of my grandma. i bet you, they are both reading this somehow and smiling. you brought tears to my eyes. but its so good to remember those things in life, its what keeps us humble. just remember, they will always be with you.

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

Love your blog! I'm a new follower but seriously, you are fabu!

♥ Mrs. S.

Katie said...

absolutely teared up! you are a fantastic writer and i am SURE both you sweet g-mas are watching you from heaven with joy and pride. i feel the same way about my papa and poppa. i no longer have them and every time i see a darling old mad i have an urge to hug him. i miss them so much.

Kelly said...

okay now I'm crying. We are almost at the 1 year anniversary of my grandmothers death. Memories are great - as long as you have those memories your grandmothers will always be with you.

(BTW: If you need help with the biscuits just give me a call)

* Tyly * said...

WOW. This post was incredible. I have chills up and down my arms.

I completely understand. My Pop-Pops {grandfather that adopted me and raised me as his own} never had the chance to meet James. He met crappy ex boyfriends, but never the man I was intended to marry. He will never get to hear hear the stories of how he was shot in WW2 or anything else he had to share. I wish we would have had that time together, but I know it will be some day.

Sorry it took so long to come and "meet" you! There's been some crazy drama the last couple of days {as you may have read}, but I hope things will be smooth sailing from here.

I've never added the "follow" thing.... I just add people to my google reader and follow them that way. I can look into it. When you follow people, does it update you when they blog?

Thanks for saying hello, and I'm glad to have a new friend! :)

jenn said...

based on my post earlier this week - you KNOW i'm with you, girl!! i completely understand. and i felt the same way at my wedding - only about my mom instead of my grandmothers. there are certain things people should not have to miss out on & i guess we'll never know why God chooses to take some away too soon.

Anonymous said...

I have moments like this constantly. Especially when I'm cooking and I think about Aunt Vera, who taught me everything I need to know about making manhattans, and deviled eggs. Your post brought tears to my eyes and happy memories to the surface.


Alissa said...

Amber you certainly have a way with words. This is just precious and made me miss my grandma too.

Stacey said...

Pretty awesome, but you have to change the cigarette to Benson & Hedges 100's for Nana. She trashed talked those who smoked Winston. HA HA.
Oh and thanks for making me CRY!!!

These two would be very very proud of the woman you have become! I know that I am!

Mandy said...

Just brought tears to my eyes

Kristin said...

Wow, this was such a real heartfelt wonderfully written post Amber! Very dear to my heart too as I watch my 91 year old grandmother who lived with us for 8 years slipping away from us thanks to dementia. I cling to the memories, the good memories that we share! I am absolutely sure that your dear grandmas had a front row seat to the happiest day of your life! God's so kind like that :-) Thanks for sharing your heart with us, ~Kristin from Windy Poplars

Ashleigh said...

This is really sweet.

Leah said...

You write so beautifully. Scents, sights, etc. are indeed nostalgia triggers. Remember, too, that one day in the future you'll smell or see something that reminds you of this time right now in your life. Right here, right now. You may look back on now as a precious time and long to go back...

* Tyly * said...

PS - I added a followers box just for you! :)

Patriotic Princess said...

So beautiful. I too, lost both of my grandmothers and I like to think that when I am walking down aisle in June they will both be watching as well.

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