Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Lost Gummy Rollerblade That Made Me Cry At Church On Sunday

A little girl in the congregation of my church got up to the microphone. She was about nine years old. I've never actually spoken to her before, but she was wearing a black dress with white polka dots and a smooth black headband in her hair.

Her grandpa is a small, silver-haired man who also lives in my neighborhood, in a long, wide brown house next to a field with a barn that Davey, Robert and I used to hold vigils in with potato chips. This old man was a home teacher to my family until I was about ten, bringing me birthday cards covered in teddy bears and candy and giving me big hugs and letting me draw pictures in the brown rows of carpet at his feet in my family's living room. He listened to me play the piano.
He was married to the most beautiful little woman, even tinier than he was, no more than five feet tall and no more than ninety pounds--she was brunette and I never heard her say something above a whisper. I remember when I was very young, she would press her cool fingers to the sides of my face when I would pass her in the halls at church. The old man, her husband, loved his wife so much. He would talk about her often and many times they walked quietly alongside each other.

She had very severe arthritis, and was tiny without a lot of room between tiny bones and tiny joints and tiny tendons anyways, and as the arthritis got worse, she stayed in their long, wide, brown house most of the time. Sometimes I would take things over for my mom and knock on the big heavy door and squish one of my eyes into the pebbled yellow glass beside it, trying to see inside. The more she stayed in, the more her husband did, and took care of her. I would pass the house every day and feel more that she was becoming a part of it. Robert and Davey and I would stand in the field next door, and while they argued about whether or not we could swipe some candles to light in the dry-wood barn for our vigils, I stared at the long house, wondering how she was doing.
Eventually, she passed away, melting peacefully into the walls of their home. He was composed, but walked as though he wasn't quite sure where he was. He was missing his half, his wife, and it was hard for everyone to watch. He continued to smile and hug me.
He spent more time in the house than he ever had. 

"I just wanted to stand up at the microphone and say I'm really glad families are forever because I love my grandpa and grandma and a few years after my grandma died we were all having a barbecue at my grandpa's house and I was playing with my Polly Pockets on the floor and I found this pink Polly Pocket rollerblade that I thought I lost. I knew the other one was at home so I was glad I found it but then when I went back to get it it was gone again. I asked my grandpa if he could help me find it and he said he would just ask my grandma where it was. And she told him where it was and he went to get it and it was there just where she told him it would be. So I'm glad they love each other and that my grandma is still here even though she's not. Amen."

10 comments:

Laura said...

I got teary eyed reading this, this is SO precious. You should give a copy to her so she has one when she gets older.

Liesl said...

I agree with Laura. That was lovely.

Rebeccah Louise said...

I love this.
I just found your blog today and I want to read it all the time now.

ConnieGirl said...

This is so sweet.

Jennica Myra Faye said...

Love this Julie!

Tracy said...

Why do you make me cry when I read your blog?

Marcindra LaPriel said...

Children are so pure.

I want to be like you when I grow up.

Brittany said...

i hope you know you make everyone cry here. what a joke and thanks.

emilia. said...

Aw. So sweet. I almost cried & I'm not moved to tears easily.
Xo.

Birrell Family said...

Pass this memory on to them... what a gift :)