My maternal grandmother, Marquerite, died yesterday morning. Her death was the only hope of our reconciliation. I had not seen or spoken to her in 18 years ~ my oldest child met her once, but thankfully doesn’t remember it. My husband and my other two children had never met her. Marquerite struggled with paranoid schizophrenia. In my unprofessional opinion, it was a result of chemical inbalances in her brain and years of physical and sexual abuse, first from her parents – then her husband – then her son. She was also physically handicapped; her right knee cap had rotted from multiple injuries that were never taken care of, so when she married, her Army husband had it removed and the bones fused together. She could not bend her leg at all; she wore a specially made built up shoe to walk. When Grandma was on her medications, she was a wonderful woman. She knew Jesus as her personal Friend ~ she loved her 4 grandchildren (my siblings and I) to distraction ~ she played Simon Says and Mother May I? up and down our driveway summer after summer ~ she taught us card games and funny songs and crafts. When Grandma was not on her medications, she was a horrible woman. What faith she had disappeared ~ she fought with her grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law as if we were trying to kill her ~ she assaulted police officers ~ she attempted to assault my oldest child (who was 5 months old at the time). Grandma often went off her medication believing that Jesus would heal her ~ or that she didn’t need it ~ or that the doctor was trying to kill her. For the sake of my family, I drew boundaries that she could not cross. After that last time of seeing her, the one time we tried to talk over the phone left her thinking she was talking to my sister and being totally confused about who I was and who my family was. She mailed back pictures I sent her, including the letters, with pages and pages of nonsensical ramblings where she thought I was my mother. I couldn’t handle her physical presence or written/spoken presence in the life of my family, so I cut off contact. Now that she is in Heaven with her Savior, I believe she is whole again. Her mind is balanced and free of fear ~ her leg is fully functional ~ her wounds are healed ~ her spirit is well. When my family and I join her there someday, we’ll have the reconciliation we could not have on earth ~ the relationship with her that was never possible here. So, part of me rejoices in her death ~ that she is finally whole and the wonderful woman I caught glimpses of throughout my childhood. And, part of me mourns in her death ~ that my husband and children will never know her on earth, that she and I could not have and maintain the grandmother/granddaughter relationship I so longed for. I will remember the bright summer days of Simon Says and Mother May I? ~ of Sound of Music plays in the yard ~ of blackberry picking and creek swimming ~ and be thankful that I was blessed with a grandmother who, as much as she was able, pointed me to my Jesus.
The other night, as my hubby and I were parting ways, he said, “Gee, you’re pretty.” Of course I smiled and said, “I know.” Then I quipped about how I was turning into Bones, very conceited. We laughed. Later, as I was lying in bed, I replayed the conversation in my head.
I’m pretty insecure; it takes a lot for me to admit that. The insecurity is very obvious when it comes to my appearance. I love it when Geek Man tells me I’m beautiful, but a part of me doubts anyway.
It was that part of doubt that caused me to begin wondering why he said it – was he wanting something else, and so said it to prep my mood? Those thoughts led to ones of needing to hear it everyday so that I wouldn’t question his motives.
Then, my hopeless-romantic streak really kicked into overdrive. I thought how wonderful it would be, if just once, I could literally take his breath away. I’ve always wanted to be “breath-taking” – “stunning” – to be able to make at least one man stumble over his feet, or stop in his tracks, or stutter stupidly. I think, at least I hope it’s so, every woman has this desire. I hope it’s so because I’d really hate to be the weird one.
As I’m lying in bed, lamenting how I’ve never caused Geek Man to stumble or stutter due to my beauty, this thought came into my head:
“Jesus thinks you’re breath-taking.” I fell asleep thinking it was “tres romantique” to have imagined that my Savior thinks I’m breath-taking.