It is my understanding that indelible life lessons are best handed down while rocking comfortably on the serenity of a porch. My first teacher, my Grandma, first demonstrated this by cleverly rendering ethical allegories at an age when my absorbent mind could lock them away from the thieves of time. They’ve become ingrained into the fibers of my being, skillfully escaping the grip of dementia over the years.
Always interested in my adventures, she would ask about my discoveries, while gently swaying back and forth on a swing, passing her weight from heel to toe. Conversation balanced by comfortable silence, when we would pause to embrace the still of dusk, watching our neighbors retreat to their homes after hours of gardening and yard work. Knowing how attached to her I was, her story’s heroine would often embody vitality and independence. Then, one day, the myths bluntly turned to facts.
“I won’t be here forever,” she would say. When first hearing these words, a life without my Grandma was unimaginable. “Stop talking like that!” I countered. So she did. She changed the topic to something much lighter, but a couple evenings later the same phrase was spoken, once again testing my willingness to accept her truth.
When it came to be that my Grandma left this world, I appreciated her prophetic gift. With a short phrase, she expressed a sense of peace with what would be her inevitable fate, and consequently alleviated the ache on the hearts left behind. Death is inescapable. A life is meant to flow into this earth, and eventually ebb back to its unknown origin. The most those left to grieve can hope for is that loved ones are at peace when the retreat comes. The most those taken back can strive for is the successful dispersal of the love they were meant to share, in the time appointed to do it.