When I was a little, my favorite story my mom would tell me, was about the day I was born.
As often as I could, I would beg her to tell it to me, again and again. Maybe, it was for the closeness we shared. Maybe, it was because my mom told it with such heart, and soul. Maybe, it was because I got to snuggle with her under the covers in her big brass bed. She would wrap me up and stroke my hair as she began to quietly speak. Transfixed, I would listen as she recounted the day with perfect clarity.
My mom, your Grandma Dorothy, died while I was pregnant with you. I was only 29 years old. We were very close and I loved her so much. It was devastating to me. But I had your two brothers, and sister to take care of. I could not grieve forever. As much as I would miss her, I had to do the best I could for my family. You were five months in my tummy when I said good-bye for the last time.
The months went by as slow and hard as I thought they would be. The emptiness and loss were a hole I could not fill. The boys were a handful, but thankfully your sister, age eight, was a BIG help. She wished and wished for a baby sister and not a brother. I told her how sorry I was but I didn’t think I could have any more girls. I wanted a girl more than anything but just couldn’t get my hopes up. It seemed the last possible thing in the world. But in my dreams, I couldn’t help but picture a big brown-eyed baby girl.
Two weeks from your due date the doctor informed me that he would go ahead and induce labor. He felt it was time. I had not gained much weight. I was too thin and too unhealthy. In my harrowing days, I had not taken very good care of myself. It was losing my mom. It was raising three children. It was so many things.
I couldn’t believe after laboring all day the moment of your arrival came, and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I told him, “It can’t be! I can’t have any more girls.” The doctor just laughed. “Of course you can have more girls and you did. Just look at her.”
And there you were….a girl. What I wanted for so long. You were so pretty. You had BIG brown eyes that peered up at me like an Owl. And you were tiny too, only 5lbs 12oz, the smallest baby I ever had. Your thin blond downy fuzz on your head was so soft, and how I loved to count your precious little fingers and toes. Oh, I was amazed and in love. I only wished my mom could be there to meet you.
Back in those days, the babies would lay in the nursery while the mom recovered in her room from the medicines and birth. I was laying there in my hospital bed thinking of you, when I sensed movement at the door. And there she stood. My mom. She was standing there looking at me with such love and adoration shining from her face. She looked me right in my eyes and said, “Oh Sharon, you did it again. She is beautiful and just like you dreamed she would be with big brown-eyes. I’m so happy you got your girl.”
I was startled. My heart jolted at the sight of her. I did what any normal person would do, I closed my eyes, and I shook my head. When I opened them, she was gone.
Oh how I wished I had not closed my eyes. I wish I would have kept them open and talked to her. I wish…I wish…I wish….but I didn’t and just like that, she wasn’t there. But she WAS there. Really there. It wasn’t a dream. It was a moment, I will never forget, for the rest of my life.
Her story is both heart-wrenching and joyful. I am usually crying with her, and for her, at the end. In my heart of hearts, I know my Grandma met me. She gazed at me through the glass. She lovingly reached for my downy head and stared into my big eyes. Oh Grandma, I heard so much about you. What you must have done to visit your daughter in a gesture of comfort, a gesture of reassurance, and a gesture of compassion that you were still there in her deepest period of loss. How much you loved us all. I know one day we will meet in heaven, all of us, and no blink will take that moment.