Dear Grandma Eileen-
It has been so many, many years since I have heard your voice. Just so you know, I keep a picture of you on my refrigerator door, sitting there, at the end of that big oak table around which we shared so many happy meals, cups of coffee, games of gin rummy. My God, how terribly I miss you. I miss the smell of the make-up on your cheek, the sound of your voice saying “Corty”, or “Sweetheart” while you held me close in one of your wonderful hugs. I miss dialing your number and hearing you answer with “Mmm Yel-low.”
I miss being able to go home to you- I can go to your house any time I wish, but it is hard on me, now. Since you are not there, it just isn’t the same. I miss the way you loved me so much, you could look past the mess that I had become, and still see the sweet little girl inside of me. It is a gift, to be loved that way. I wish I had known it at the time. But I was very young, still, and terribly selfish. I was also very sick, and angry, and lost. I hope you have forgiven me for hurting you, wherever you are now.
I love you, still, and I miss you, always. If I had a magic wand, and I could go back in time, even just for a night, I would choose to go back to when I was a child, before you or papa were gone, just so I could be with you for a little while. How safe I felt then, and loved. I knew that when I was with you, there was nothing in the world that could ever hurt me. I am so grateful that you gave me that feeling, I am grateful for it all the time.
But I don’t have a magic wand. I only have my memories, and I do my best to keep them sharp and clear. I can’t change who I was, or take back my less kind moments, but I can remember the love you gave me, and the way it felt, and I can honor you by trying to love my children in that way. So that is what I do. I am not even nearly always successful, but I hope you can look down on me from heaven, and be proud of me. I hope that more than anything.
I was just thinking of you this morning, and wished that I could talk to you. This is the only way I could make it happen. I hope you are happy where you are, and that you look in on me, from time to time. I miss you, grandma. Thank you for loving me. It changed my life.