This post is in honor of my Gamamma, who would have been 77 years old today and just passed away this past February. I hope you’re having fun partying in heaven with Jesus today Gamama! We miss you.
Walks in Wisconsin
They remind me of you.
North Carolina trees always seemed
much taller than their coniferous
counterparts in my Colorado backyard.
The air smells sweet with water
“humidity” they call it here, but
growing up, I just knew it as
that North Carolina smell.
I thought, in Tennessee, I could
smell my way to your house; I
could smell us drawing closer & closer
with every mile, every state
welcome sign we passed.
Now, as I push the stroller,
full & warm with the little one you prayed
all night as we labored, your breath
labored sick & tired & dying;
but it’s now that I feel like you’re here.
The day you died, I felt it.
Listening to my mother’s voice
I felt you—no longer far away
in North Carolina, but here—
watching me wipe the counters,
cheering me on, as you have
since the day of my birth.
Even so. Loss gets to me.
Two weeks ago I opened the mail to see
a check for my birthday from Granddaddy
—but no card—
The card was always from you.
Carefully pulled from the filing cabinet
where you kept all the pretty cards;
for all joyful future you believed in,
that held golden word-treasures of the past.
Yesterday, I leaned down to smell the paper
of the wedding card you’d given
the day my heart rejoiced. I wanted
to smell your perfume, to imagine the pen
your soft & wrinkled hand held
as you scrolled the loving words.
It was the most beautiful card of all.
I should have known at once
who it was from—but it came as a surprise
to see your name in black on the white
your name printed on the check
your words & your voice in my head
clear as day.
It’s funny how you don’t stop showing up
months after you have died.
I almost see you more
see you everywhere—
—even here, on this walk