I breathe in and close my eyes. I am transported back 30 years. I am sitting in my front yard, but back then the yard belonged to my grandparents. I can feel the sun warming my face and the cool breeze from the shade of the giant maple tree that lived there. I can here her laughter and feel her hand as she brushes the hair from my face and asks if I want more iced tea.
I can taste the tea and the sandwich she made for me. I can feel the cool cotton sheet she has laid out, just for this occasion. If I squeeze my eyes shut hard enough, I can smell a mix of detergent and her linen closet lingering on the sheet.
I don't want to ever lose this memory. I have found myself closing my eyes and reliving it over and over again since she passed away.
Since my grandmother passed away.
Typing those words bring tears to my eyes and a million memories and emotions rushing to claim the front of my mind. My grandmother, known to many as Mimi, was everything to me. Everything.
I learned how to knit, albeit poorly, from her. I also learned how to be kind, how to love, how to clean a floor, how to do laundry, how to get nearly any stain out of any garment, how to be patient, how to make fudge and beef stew, how to smile when I wanted to cry, and how to believe in myself all from her.
She was an amazing woman. She loved more fiercely than anyone else I know. Her family, no matter if they were immediate, extended, in-laws, or friends, her family meant the world to her. Everything she did, she did with them in mind. She devoted her life to helping, caring for, and loving others.
s a result of all the love she put out into the world, she was incredibly adored by all who met her. Friends would come with me to visit my grandparents and leave saying they felt like family. Store clerks would ask how she was and strangers would talk with her for hours. She was the embodiment of love.
During my darkest times, when I didn't feel worthy of anything, she saw beyond the darkness. She saw a person I never knew existed. She saw someone who slowly emerged. She saw, and knew, me before I ever did.
She believed in me, absolutely. There were no conditions on her love or her support. She never gave up on me and was always my biggest and loudest cheerleader. She rejoiced in my successes and comforted me through my losses. She never waivered in her love for me. Ever.
I wasn't the only one she supported and was proud of. No, one conversation with her and you would hear her gush about the accomplishments of her entire family. First steps, graduations, being published, winning awards, going on a trip, and getting an A in English were all equal causes for her to celebrate. Big or small, everything was incredible to her and worthy of her praise.
Two weeks ago, not just myself, but the world, lost an amazing woman. Wilma Estella Perkins lived a life full of good books, good food, and great love. As sad as I am that she is no longer here to guide me, I am so incredibly grateful for the 36 years I had with her. The world had her for 81 years but her legacy of love and kindness will live on forever.
Her life should be celebrated every chance we get. Every time I read a good book or have a long, laughter filled conversation with a loved one, I will be honoring her. Every goal I reach and every milestone I achieve, I will rejoice in finally being able to see myself the way she saw me.
I will forever miss Mimi but, as Elsa said the other evening after talking about her, "Mimi's soul is free. Now she can be with us no matter where we are. Isn't that beautiful?"