Anything That’s Part of You


“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… It doesn’t matter what you do…so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I define truth as anything you believe to your core. It doesn’t matter what evidence or lack thereof is there; if you feel it in your bones, that’s all that matters. Here are some of the truths that have shaped my view of the world and are to blame for how I exist within it:

1) Nothing is too wonderful to be true.
2) Heaven awaits me at the end of my days.
3) Adamantine hearts do not reap the joys of susceptible ones.

I learned these truths from a teacher most remarkable. There is something truly magical about the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter, and if there was a Truth #4, it would be that there are some lessons only to be learned through that sacred kind of kinship. Though each of those above Truths was learned over the course of a lifetime in her presence, I can think of a very specific moment in which she taught me the value of having a heart that breaks. It was a late summer afternoon and my world as I knew it was over, for Oh Delilah the boy did not love me back. At 23 this is the worst kind of tragedy, you know. The only thing that brought any semblance of comfort that day was her. I called her and let my tears and grievances flow freely. And though she was miles upon miles away, having her on the other end of the line was better than having anyone or anything else in tangible proximity. She listened on as I disbosomed every cardiologic malady to ever plague me, cursing my heart for being so breakable, and wanting things so deeply, and for never being averse to ANYTHING. At that present moment, ambivalence seemed like a decadent indulgence only afforded to an elect breed of beings. After I had shed the last desperate tear, she granted her unrivaled comfort on my positively melodramatic soul. With a soft breath she bestowed Truth #3: “Someday you will be grateful you have a heart that beats so hard. Because some day you will realize that the world has so many things for you to love. My darling, your world will be so much richer, if you can just learn to embrace that ever-loving heart of yours.” And just like that, everything was warm again. She had bestowed a timeless truth, and, once again, painted my world with a bright hue of hope.

Every little girl needs someone in her life to shepherd her far away from aphotic places like self-doubt and insecurity and instead take her by the hand and guide her to the effulgent pathways of which Impossible is not a destination. She did that for me, and not just that aforementioned abysmal afternoon, but always. Perhaps it is only a discernment granted to the ever-peering and oh so biased eyes of grandmothers, but she somehow managed to see all the exquisite possibilities of what my life could be. She had a magical way of making anything and everything seem as if it were completely within my grasp, if only I would reach for it.

As grandmothers are prone to do, she eventually had to leave me. No one is immune to the lulls of senescence and it had been thieving her away little by little for quite some time until, finally, it ransomed her completely. And now, as Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote, “the presence of her absence is felt everywhere.” I think of moments with her and am simultaneously suffused with gratitude and grief, for how blessed I was to be a part of the world when she, too, was part of it, and how foreign the world now seems without her. Admittedly, there have been a few grim moments since her passing where I have questioned the earth’s ability to muster even a little bit of the magic it bore when she was alive. You see, her simply being a part of it made the world a beautiful place to be.

The thought has arisen that my future children will never meet her. As if the task of stewarding human beings wasn’t daunting enough, I now must embrace the charge of creating a world for them where they won’t be forsaken the privilege of knowing her-  simply because they didn’t arrive here sooner. I suspect that when I tickle their arms and sing to them 26 reasons why they are loved (one for every letter of the alphabet), she will be there to soften my touch and sweeten my melody. When we play a game of cards and I let them cheat, as they positively will seeing as how they will be my offspring after all, I am sure she will be a visitant spectator. When their eyes twinkle with mischief and their laughs restore my hope in humanity, those will be echoes of her. My little ones will never get to comb her alabaster hair or hear her tender voice. But if I am soft, if my touch is gentle, if my words are the avenues by which they find their most remarkable versions of themselves, if I somehow find a way to make them feel that there is no safer place to be than sitting close to me, then they will know her. And this is how I will honor her, by echoing her walk of motherhood, of womanhood. By tuning my heart to beat as hers did, I can imprint my children the way that she so tenderly and so beautifully imprinted upon me. I am one of the things she left behind that was made different- better.

Peace and Love {to the sky}.

2 thoughts on “Anything That’s Part of You

  1. “There is a comfort in the strength of love; twill make a thing endurable. Which else would overset the mind or break the heart…”
    -William Wordsworth


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