Once upon a time, a thirteen-year-old girl named Lil saw her Grandma for the first time. Until then, Mum was at odds with Grandma over inheritance issues, so they never met.
Little Lil was delighted to meet Grandma. After all, she’s heard much about grandmas from other children at school. Even her teacher talked fondly of the role of grandmother and how they treat grandchildren with sweets. However, her experience was different.
The Grandma was sitting in a hospital bed, unable to utter a single word. How could she? She had a big fluffy mask in her mouth. Mum said it was to help her breathe.
Lil also noticed a few cables going from her wrist to a fancy machine near Grandma. She wondered why. Mum said they were to keep her healthy.
Little Lil had more questions, but they had to wait. It was her time to talk to Grandma. She started describing how was her day at school and how excited she was for the weekend and the birthday party of her best friend, Kate.
She then mentioned her toys and favorite Barby, a blonde country girl with a gorgeous pink dress. She went on and on for five minutes until she said that the teacher asked the class to draw their families the other day.
Little Lil said, “I didn’t know you before, but if the teacher asks again, I will put you in my drawing.” Only then the mother noticed Grandma’s fingers moving and her arm almost lifting from the bed.
Grandma mumbled something, but nobody understood what it was. She kept trying to raise her arm in vain. The cables were too heavy. Only when Little Lil touched her palm that her fingers stop moving in agony.
Grandma gripped Lil’s little hand. Lil initially got scared, but she felt at peace a second later. It was the first time she touched Grandma. Her hand was warm, and Lil felt a shiver in her back. She didn’t want to leave Grandma’s hand because it felt so good! And she didn’t.
After almost half a minute, she looked back to her mum, still holding Grandma, and noticed a few drops of water below her eyes. She was about to ask Mum when a piercing sound came from the machine near Grandma. A constant and loud Beep made Mum stand up right away.
After two seconds, Mum started shouting and then left the room. Little Lil stayed alone with Grandma, still holding her hand, which started trembling. She didn’t want to leave her hands, but the doctor separated them anyways.
It was the first and last time she touched Grandma Lilian, from whom she took her name. But it wasn’t the last time she saw her. Grandma started appearing in her dreams more and more often.
Even when she grew up to become a mother of her own, Lil kept dreaming of her beloved Grandma Lilian. They may have just met for a few seconds, but the experience was so intense she never forgot. It was as if an intimate relationship was formed when their hands crossed on that fateful day.
That relationship was not always peaceful, though. Lil faced periods of distress and anger toward her Grandma throughout life, especially as a teenager. Deep inside her, she wanted to have a granddaughter-grandma relationship. And since her dad’s mom died well before she was born, she complained about Grandma Lilian not being around.
Every time, these periods of anger gave way to indifference as weeks passed. And it wasn’t long until she again felt love, compassion, and gratitude for their one experience together in that hospital. These circles of anger, indifference, and love continued until her kids married.
The time for her to be a grandma was close, and she had to make peace with what was happening inside her. She had tried everything, from psychologists to yoga and therapy sessions to self-help books. Nothing worked for her.
Until one day, she dreamed of her again. In the dream, Grandma Lilian said, “My little Lil, I am at rest now. I am good. The question is, how are you. Don’t ask me. Don’t ask anyone. Ask yourself. Or better, ask how you want to be.”
Lil woke up in the middle of the night. She shook for a few seconds, but then a smile formed in her mouth. She suddenly knew what to do.
She got up, went to the balcony, raised her arms, and felt grateful for her Grandma, her past, the future, and especially the present.
That night, or the remainder of it, she enjoyed the most restful and peaceful sleep for years!
Everything is a matter of decision. Your ability to respond to anything is limitless. Once you realize that you can choose to be however you want, life reveals how wonderful it is.