Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Graduation Day

The bright blue and white plastic bag has been on the bottom shelf in my closet for over 3 ½ years now.

I’m astonished that so much time has elapsed since I put it there.

The slick plastic is dusty beneath my fingers. I don’t even know if I’ve moved this precious package since it was carefully stashed on that shelf for safe keeping.

I carry it to the table in my office. I have sealed this little plastic wrapped package with clear packing tape. I can’t recall now why I did that, but maybe I figured tightly sealing the bag would keep the memories safe and deter against unknown disasters.

The tape makes a ripping noise as I pull it away, and then I reach carefully inside and pull out a stack of six hardbound books.

The covers are shiny and perfect. Their glossy white covers are happy with bright blue, pink, yellow, purple and orange.


I open each book carefully, looking for the one I need today.

Ah. Here is the right one.

I slide the other five books back into the bag for later.

One of my tears splash onto the cover and I quickly wipe it away. I am as careful with this book as a newborn baby…or a piece of fragile, perfect crystal. It is a treasure and cannot be replaced.

I go to the special box in my office closet and dig through some photos I have stored there waiting for this moment. Each one is slippery under my hand…each one is a memory that pierces my soul.

I put the photo inside the book and then wrap the book carefully in paper suitable for a graduation day. The wrapping is easy. The note to accompany the gift-wrapped book is hard.

How do I write this? How do I tell this young man that before his Grandmother died a horrible death of lung cancer, I sat with her as she carefully and shakily wrote inside these six books…a book for each grandchild…a book for six graduation days she would not see.

Do I tell him how she cried, knowing she would miss this big milestone in his life…and all the milestones that would come after she was gone?

It seems like just a short time ago that I visited my dear friend for this reason…to capture moments for grandchildren that would grieve forever the loss of their Grandmother…their friend, confidant and cheerleader.

How can it possibly be almost four years since she’s been gone?

When I hold this book, I remember her determined face as she worked so hard to inscribe her feelings for each child. I remember sitting with the Grandson this book is going to be mailed to as I recorded him singing “Amazing Grace” for a funeral that was happening way to soon for a delightful woman dying way to young. I remember my friend’s soft voice telling me, “I’m not afraid, I just don’t want to leave my Grandchildren.”


It is hard to capture all this in a note to accompany this priceless gift.

So I think I won’t even try.

I will box this book up carefully, and send it certified mail to a young man whose graduation announcement shows both his Senior picture and a picture of him with his beloved Grandmother.

And I hope when he opens it, he will feel her love wrap around him. I hope when he reads the words she wrote in her weak and shaky hand-writing he will know without a doubt how very much his Grandmother loved him. And I hope it gives him some small comfort to know that as they call his name at the Graduation ceremony, his Grandmother is cheering really loudly in Heaven.

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39 comments:

Deb said...

a very touching post Jenny....she was lucky to have you carry on for her...and the grandchildren also...

Theresa said...

Oh dear friend, what a sweet and wonderful post about a sweet and wonderful Grandmother! I KNOW that young man will cherish that book for the rest of his life! Angel smiling in Heaven!

Thanks for sharing! HUGS!

La Petite Gallery said...

This was such an inspiring story. You truly are a wonderful friend.
I am so happy that I have met you even though ArZ- to Maine is a long distance.
Thanks for all the wonderful uplifting comments. I am still heart broked, every day,it's something, like he got half my Banana. Life goes on for those that are lucky. I bet you miss your friend too. yvonne

Jocelyn said...

Oh Jenny,, this post got me...I cried.....What a wonderful gift....and I know his grandmother will be smiling down on graduation day!!!

Thank you for sharing with us!!!

Terry said...

She'll definitely be smiling down on her grandson, and on you for doing this for her!

Kat said...

Oh Jenny, I don't think I've ever read something so touching and heartbreaking. What an incredible gift. I know each and every one of those grandchildren will treasure their gift. What a wonderful person your friend must have been. And what a wonderful friend you are to help her with this final gift. Hugs, Kat

linda said...

Beautiful post Jenny.
Hugs.

Karen S. said...

This has got to be the most joyful and loving things a grandma could have done...just this weekend again the loss of my mother Jan. 2008 to lung cancer as well was heavy on my heart as my grand-daughter Lyra turned 2, (she is so much like my mother it's just crazy)...my Mom has missed so much ..although we keep her in our heart..to just have her walk through the door one more time....my heart goes out for you Jenny....

Mrs. Adventure said...

Oh Jenny. Your words peirced my heart, tears have fallen on my keyboard what a sad but yet sweet story. Thank you for your beautiful words :o)

LBP said...

I am now sitting in my office with tears streaming down my face. My own mother passed away when I was 16 and ever milestone that has passed in not only my life but my sons I think of how much she would have wanted to be there.

How wonderful that she was able to write notes in those books for her grandchildren. I'm sure they will become a priceless treasure for them.

Blessings

Linda

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

What a wonderful idea and I'm sure the grandson will be very grateful.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh Jenny, what a wonderful, thoughtful and SMART woman your friend is. Thinking ahead...making sure her grandkids knew she was THERE with them. I love this. I love what a wonderful friend you are to make sure her wishes were seen through. xoxoxoox

Judie said...

Jenny, our world is a better place because you are in it. There is just nothing else I can say.
xoxo

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Gentle hugs...

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Gentle hugs...

Carol said...

Lovely story....beautifully written...cryin' with you....hugs!!

Bossy Betty said...

So touching. You are his connection to this dear lady and that means so much.

Lorrie said...

What a sweet post, Jenny. Your friend showed bravery and love that transcends life and death. Bravo!

Leslie Morgan said...

What a very touching post! And the book (with which I have some personal history) is perfect. Thanks for the reminder that this is a precious day, no matter whether we start it out thinking "Ho hum."

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Oh my Jennie...

sitting at my desk just bawling like a baby.

what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman...

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jenny the love your friend had for her Grandchildren is beyond words. This touched me so much. Bless you and may the spirit of this strong and loving woman live on in her grandchildren!

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

So hard when these milestones come along...not only for the people leaving us, but for the people left behind. My heart is with you!

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Here I sit teary eyed. You have wonderful wise friends. Often I've wondered it I would want to know when my time would come and I think I would so that I could have to opportunity to let those I loved have a similar experience this Grandma was so thoughtful to prepare.
Dana

Sue said...

Oh, boy. The tears are falling over here.

What a wonderful grandma! And what a great friend you are to take care of this sacred work for her. How she must have trusted you, Jenny.

(this does not surprise me, by the way)

=)

ImagiMeri said...

I'm sorry........my eyes are leaking at the moment.

Thank you
Meri

Ms. A said...

Tears rolling down my face. Bless this young man, with all the love his grandmother obviously has for him. Bless you for seeing to it, he knows.

Wanda..... said...

Oh my...life just doesn't seem fair sometimes, that such a caring woman and grandmother was lost too soon. Very moving story, Jenny!

criticalcrass said...

oh fuh, jenny. you made me cry. :[ you're not supposed to do that.

H said...

I think that Grandson will count that book among his most treasured posessions for the rest of his life.

This made me feel quite raw!

upinthecosmos said...

That's heart wretching and beautiful all at the same time. What a great book to choose and a loving thing for her to do and you to be involved in. He will forever cherish it!

Pondside said...

What a responsibility - what an honour - what a gift to you Jenny. I can't imagine how hard it is to do this when memories of your dear friend hurt so much, but I can imagine the treasure you've just sent off to a young man who will be connected once more with his beloved grandmother through your loyalty to her request - her will.
Bless you.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Heartbreaking and uplifting in equal parts. How did you do that? Seriously.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I don't even know how to comment. As I have watched my children lose 3 grandparents this year, my heart breaks for them. There is just something so special about that bond. I think your friend must have been the most remarkable person to plan this for them. They will treasure these gifts forever. Thank you for sharing this!

gayle said...

I can honestly say I have never ever in all the years I have blogged cried while reading a blog post!!! This has touch my heart so very much! What a wonderful friend you are for doing this! I am sure these grandchildren of your friend will treasure it always!

I also gave this book to my daughters when they graduated from highschool.

Lourie said...

Wonderful and bittersweet post! ANd yes, she is there with them. Even though they can not see her she is there.

Amy said...

You are probably the best friend any one can have. So sweet, and what a sweet post. I am sure he will feel all the love that is encompassed.

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, Jenny. This is just so sweet. I have a little card that my grandmother painstakingly wrote out a few months before she passed away. The ALS was getting worse by the week, and she knew she didn't have much time left before she couldn't hold a pen anymore.

I miss her so much. Thank you for reminding me.

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