It had been so long since I last heard it,
the crunch of the gravel as we pulled in the driveway.
I had never seen that walnut tree look so full of life!
I decided to take my shoes off, to once again feel the rough bark against my feet.
To my surprise, that old swing set still stood, gently rocking in the breeze.
I sat on it, feeling the rusted metal give, for I no longer weighed what I once did last I was on it.
As I swayed gently, the quiet creak of the chains reminded me of those warm Christmases.
You always knew how to bring people together, Gramma. No matter the distance, family always came.
Your laughter would find its way through the halls as you told your stories, drawing us nearer.
Your smile, the warmest. Your love, the kindest. I still try so hard to find you in me.
Of all your passions, none was more beautiful than your love for flowers. You always had a way with the earth, as if your love alone was enough to bring such simple seeds to splendor.
And of those flowers, none you loved more than the rose. So much grace, elegance, and vulnerability carried within those soft petals.
I remembered one day I came outside to find you tending to your garden. As I came closer, I noticed that your hands were bloodied, punctured by those wicked thorns. I cried, and asked how she could stand to get hurt by her roses
“Every rose worth smelling will have its thorns, sweetheart.” she said warmly.
Time passed by, and I saw you less and less. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see you, Gramma. Things were always so hard between families. Bitterness. Regret. Hate.
But then one day, the incurable came and took you. Your life, as beautiful and wonderful as any rose, was gone, wilted away like your petals. And I had never gotten to say good-bye.
Your funeral was the saddest moment I had ever known. Someone so pure, so kind, was gone. And in that moment, families that used to hate began to forgive. They began to love. Why is it that we cannot cherish what we love until it is gone?
This world is a little colder without you, but you have taught me how to ignite another’s soul.
This world is a little darker without you, but you have taught me how to be a beacon to others.
As I lifted myself from that rusted, old swing, a feeling of calm washed over me.
The gentle breeze came again, and on it, was your roses.
I truly regret never saying how much I loved you, Gramma. I’m sorry that I never knew how to put into words how much I missed your warmth.
The familiar scraping of gravel met my ears as I backed out of your driveway. How I longed to see you, waving good-bye to me with the hopes that I might once again visit.
But you were gone.
And all I saw,
were your roses.