Christmas Day late I phoned my Mother only to hear the tears and broken words as she spoke the news of Grandmothers Passing. I quickly went to the privacy of my room, as our house was full of family celebrating the giving of gifts and the joy of Christmas Day. Tears fell to the floor as comfort traveled in both directions over the phone line (I am also her baby boy). Mother reminded me of Grandmother’s strength and dignity during the last few days and we both tried tearfully to cheer the other with memories of Grandmother. As our phone conversation ended Mother explained to me Grandmother had left a wish list. One of the wishes was to have her Grandsons as pallbearers. Mom ask if I was up to it and I quickly responded with “whatever Grandma wants.” As I stood in the quiet of my room my heart beat loudly in my chest I questioned my worthiness to follow Grandmothers wishes. I knew it was what was expected of me but my spirit was in mourning and I was not sure if I would be emotionally strong enough.
While packing to leave for Missouri Teena ask what I wanted to do with Grandmother’s Christmas present. Suddenly the tears pooled in my eyes as I said “pack it with my stuff”. Grandmother loved the little lollypops called “Dum Dums” and would sit for hours watching the birds eating at the feeders outside her window while enjoying her snack. So Teena and I had found an old tin in the shape of an old house and we filled it with her favorite snack. When Teena found the tin the week before I told her it was the perfect gift because Grandmother was the center of the family and the house represented the family. Saturday I went into the sanctuary filled to overflowing with huge flower arrangements surrounding Grandmother and privately had my time with her, I placed a lollypop by her side and turned to leave the room. I thought “how could I possibly leave this little tin with all these huge beautiful flowers”. Then I thought of those words we’ve all seemed to have forgotten “it’s the thought that counts”. I sat the tin in the shadow of the flowers and left the room telling Grandmother “Merry Christmas Grandma”.
Later in the day while talking with my Father, mention was made of the lollypop habit Grandmother had and Dad said he intended to put some in with “Mom” but he had forgot. I told him I had taken care of it and Dad smiled at me as tears came to his eyes.
I’m not sure if anyone attending the services noticed that little tin in the shape of a house filled with lollypops, but as I teach my Grandkids someday the true meaning of Christmas I’ll remind them “it’s the thought that counts”.
Sharing the Journey