JUST TO LET YOU KNOW…. Yesterday I told my kids I was going to teach them how play Rummikub. So I rummaged through the cardboard boxes which had been nestled in my home office still awaiting my attention to be unpacked for nearly two years. Surely enough and without much effort on my part at all, there it was. The wooden, rectangular tile game I used to play so often as a child.
As easily as I unpacked the game out of the box, the memories of yesteryears were unpacked just the same.
While the floodgate of memories from days gone by poured out, along with it came my seemingly no longer bottled up unpolished emotions I’ve purposely pushed down since the onset of this Coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, it was not surprising I awoke this morning after finding my Grandmother in last night’s dream.
My grandmother. A woman of valor who was strong as an ox up until her very last breath on this Earth just days shy of her ninety-fourth trip around the Sun.
My Grandmother. Highly energized. Fit as a fiddle, never missed a day of exercise and healthy eating. “Rachel dear, come sit. Come have some almonds and raisins.”
My Grandmother. An avid reader; scrutinized every word of every section of The New York Times. Her mind sharp as a tack, still played bridge with her Life Master status to prove it. She was a proud and loud liberal Democrat before there ever was such a popular thing. She was Woman and we all heard her roar! To her dismay however, after many family interventions she finally was left no choice but resign to being that of a passenger in a car rather than continuing to drive the car herself. It was a battle she fought hard against; resisting our constant pleas to turn over the keys as she advocated to keep her independence intact. We never did get rid of the car; it remained in her garage. She’d look us square in the eye and promise she hadn’t been driving but to this day, we honestly don’t know! “Hmm I didn’t notice that dent before Gram; when did that happen?”
My Grandmother. Always dressed to impress. “Rachel, dahling. I have a wonderful day planned. But first, let me put my face on.” I vividly remember countless mornings sitting next to her at the edge of the bathroom vanity watching intently as she applied Clinique foundation and mascara with expertise. If James Charles, beauty You-Tuber and first male ambassador for Covergirl had been born back then, she’d have made him proud. At her funeral, I retold the story while eulogizing her of the time my Grandfather and she showed up to visit me at camp on a brutally hot day in August. She was wearing skin tight leather pants and high heels. While my camp friends mighta thought Olivia Newton-John had showed up to break Color War, I knew better. It wasn’t Sandra Dee, it was Grandma Gert making a full ‘face on’ entrance with her homemade oatmeal raisin cookies packaged in a Saks Fifth Avenue shirt box, inclusive of the original tissue paper for preservation!
My Grandmother. She was a force to be reckoned with.
So with everything that’s wrong in the world today, it’s not surprising I awoke this morning after finding my Grandmother in last night’s dream.
My subconscious couldn’t help but bring her to the forefront of my unpolished mind during these unsettling times. I suspected my subconscious couldn’t help but bring her to the forefront for a reason. It was meant as a conscious reminder. An awakening of sorts. A well needed conscious awakening [for all].
Yes, we are in a time of great uncertainty with no real understanding of what tomorrow holds. Yes, we are part of history in the making of something we don’t yet know the outcome. We didn’t sign up for any of it and yes, the moments are unnerving and scary. The stories are gutting. The media is maddening.
Maybe my Grandmother showing up in last night’s dream was potentially an unpolished message to stay the course. Remain calm. Listen more; talk less. Slow down. Pull out memories from your past and share them with your children.Not only teach what you know, but learn from others what you don’t know. Spread love. Stem fear. Laugh. Remember the stories your Grandparents might have told you about being born in the early 1900’s, and the stories their parents had told them about immigrating to America with so much as nothing in their pockets and then prospering in the Land of Milk and Honey. Remember them telling you how hard they had to work for that very milk and honey. “Did you know in 1929 the cost of milk was twenty-six cents? But honey? Who could afford honey. No one could afford honey.” Think how much easier it is for us now to put into context the stories they told us of their own personal trials and tribulations living through the global pandemics of their generation. They survived the Coronavirus pandemic, only it wasn’t called Coronavirus, it was 1918 and they called it Influenza; then they called it World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam. Etc. You get the picture.
When I woke up after finding my Grandmother in last night’s dream I realized albeit indirectly, that anything is possible. Even the impossible. I was reminded again how critical it is, now more than ever to savor every bit of good and plenty. ‘That is my quest, to follow that star. No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.’ While my short-term memory may need some fine tuning to decipher the current days of the week, I was effortlessly launched into a stratosphere of colorful, long-term memory moments that most likely wouldn’t have come to surface without the nudge from the global world events of now.
So thanks Gram for showing up.
In keeping with the unpolished message from my Grandmother [and all the Gertrudes and Harriets and Mollyes and Millies and Rhodas and Ruthies and Sophies and Sadies we draw inspiration from coupled with the great Frank Sinatra, there is no choice but to do right by all of them and ‘right the unrightable wrong.’ We are the legacy they have left behind and it’s our responsibility to take what was and repurpose it to suit what is as we continue to Dream the Impossible Dream. ‘And the world will be better for this.’