As a young child and into my teens, I consistently wrote letters to my grandmother. She lived a few states away and our families only came together for Christmas and summer vacation, but we were always communicating. Writing thank you notes and life updates to her were never a chore. When I think of writing letters now, it is a tedious process that I have little patience for! Sign of the times, I suppose. It was a different time, a different era.
I always felt a close connection to my grandmother. I find it hard to put into words as I can not think of a specific reason or event as to why I felt so close to a woman I rarely spent time with. It was purely a feeling on my part and to be honest, I know she loved me dearly, but I have no idea if she felt the same in return. I was her first out of only two grandchildren, so I am certain I was extra spoiled. Grandparents have the luxury of simply loving their grandchildren and leaving all the dirty work to the parents. Maybe that is why I adored her so much. She loved me, I felt it, and I appreciated it.
I do not remember the occasion, if there was one, but somewhere around my late teens or early twenties, she presented me with a stack of photo albums containing all the letters I had ever written to her. She had saved them all those years. Just looking at the bright turquoise and orange flowered albums brings a sense of nostalgia. Very 70’s looking. I was so moved by her thoughtfulness. I wonder if that had been her plan all along, or if one day she thought it time to do something with her amassed collection. I will never know.
I have not looked at them since the day she gave them to me. It has been over 20 years. They are safely put away in some plastic bin and have followed me though my life’s journey. It makes me happy knowing they are there; it is a comfort, but I am too scared of the heartache to peer into their depths. My grandmother passed away about five years ago. I still have dreams where I am trying to communicate with her even though she is gone. I am pleading and crying in the dreams and I always wake up to my pillow wet with tears. I am not ready.
These letters are a timeline of sorts of my childhood. I have no doubt they begin with my first words put to paper and move through my carefree early years, my silly drawings, my coming of age, the boy bands, and the glory and heartache of my first love. They are leftovers of a relationship. One-sided of course, as I did not save many of her letters to me. One day I will be able to crack open those over-stuffed albums, and a box of Kleenex and I will laugh and cry at my lost youth and my lost friend. Some day.
Photo credit: http://www.dreamstime.com