Clouds roll serenely across the afternoon sky, their pace carefree and unhurried. They have that fluffy weightlessness, that gentle vibrancy of pure white coloring that is characteristic of clouds in early spring. I smile softly as I watch them. I have always loved looking at the sky, delighting in the patterns the clouds paint as they sail to unknown destinations.
Sky-gazing is my joy, one that I once shared with another.
In life, my grandmother had been equally captivated by the sky. Like me, she would look into that vast expanse of blue and see a work of art. Now that she is lost to me, the sky is a source of a more profound joy. It has become my haven for her, the woman who was my second mother, whom I loved with my entire being.
I am reminded of her every time I look into the sky. She was the only one in my immediate family with eyes of that same clear, bright, beautiful blue. I feel a closeness to her when I gaze into the heavens, a connection that I do not experience elsewhere. There is no place I consider more perfectly suited for my grandmothers spirit than within the clouds she loved. Like them, she was carefree and gentle.
Recently I have come to understand that my character is remarkably similar to hers, leading me to consider her from an entirely different perspective. As a child, she was simply my grandmother, my Gan. There was never the question of her being anything elseshe was Gan, a constant source of warm and unconditional love. Hers was the profoundly significant role of being my second mother, my other rock. She was the best Gan in the world. I was so proud and thrilled, because she was mine.
It is no clichéd exaggeration when I say that I adored her.
Now that I am grown, and my perception of the world has changed, I realize there is so much more to a person. No one fits a single role exclusively, and my grandmother was no exception. She was my grandmother, but she was also her own self, a woman. She had her own hopes and dreams, cares and concerns, some of which Im certain none of my family knew anything about. Every woman has her secrets.
Her strength was subtle, but its presence was undeniable. It lay in the bottomless depth of her love and gentle vibrancy of her personality. That flare that was uniquely hers could never be dimmed, even years later when she became irrevocably sick. Her spirit maintained that vitality that was so much a part of her. Like the embers of a dying fire, her spirit gleamed bright and true from within even as it faltered.
My own youth causes me to reflect most upon the fact that my grandmother was once where I am nowyoung and free, with her life beginning to unfold and the world at her feet. As a child I could not have understood, but I am a woman now, one of her nature. And I understand. I often wonder what it would have been like to have known the woman she had once been, in the vibrancy of her first youth. I do not doubt that she and I could have been great friends, capable of understanding each other in that deep, effortless way thats unique to kindred spirits.
We made a connection that day so many years ago when I learned that she was just as delighted by the clouds as I am. Im not sure if she realized, but I saw it immediately. That one, seemingly meaningless detail drew us even closer together. Its amazing how the small things are often what affect us most. Perhaps its really not all that surprising when one pauses to remember that God is behind everything, even that which we fail to notice or take for granted. When viewed from that mindset, the simplest aspects of life become extraordinary.
And so there is my grandmothers monument, high overhead and a mere breath out of reach. She is always with me, and I cannot despair in the face of that comfort and joy. She, my grandmother, my Gan, my sister spirit, she is in the clouds.