It was the funeral of my grandmother, when I saw the same sky hovering over us like a gigantic dove spreading its wings, flapping from time to time in slow motion. Sunlight was a blink and the dullness of winter enveloped the spirits.
I remember clearly the chill, the gloom, the conversations flowing wherein the caretaker of my grand mom repeatedly explained how my grandmother’s last moments were and what were her last words and whom she remembered and surprisingly my name would come up and everyone would glance at me, the smells of colorful roses stay put in a corner hung in the air, while tears gleamed in the eyes of my dad and aunts. I was young and absorbing the fact that I will never see my grand mom ever again was difficult for me. Life was in the now as is for most of the children.
I remember the lovely personalized notes and letters she used to send to each one of us and I was the only one to write back to her, probably that connect and exchange made her reminisce about me in her last moments.
I left the grey zone and stepped into the garden which my grandmother was so in love with. She would spend hours tending to it and keeping the grass trimmed and watering the plants and plucking the weeds. She would often write to us about the names of flowers that bloomed in her garden and how she took care of them. On our visits she would take us for a walk and demonstrate the process with great fervor as though she was our botany professor. I remember she would love my paintings of sun shining and bright skies with the canvas smudged in shades of orange and red. She would say, “Bob keep painting the sky bright no matter how blue it is and send them to me, it means a lot, it keeps me warm.” I often laughed at this then but now I understand it much more. Keep hope in your heart and that is enough to let you go by.
I looked around and saw some rough patches of untended grass and weeds growing and realize that grandma’s sickness in her last days led to this mayhem in her paradise. I kept walking and my eyes caught the radiant sight, a bed of January flowers with prisms of dew drops glazing in the scarce light that shone now and then as the voluminous clouds traversed across the opaque sky.
She would often praise the beauty and strength of the winter flowers. They endure the biting cold and yet blossom with innate beauty and sweetness. She would collect the flowers which lay scattered around the bushes and trees for her altar never plucking a single one.
I heard her eulogies all were filled with a lot of gratefulness. She had a connect with every family member, young or old, friends and even neighbors. Every one talked about her thoughtful wishes on their special days, her heartfelt expressions and efforts in keeping in touch with all of them. She would send pictures of sunshine on dull wintry days to everyone. She would rejoice in every season because she chose to do so.
I carry with me this essence of connectedness and love which never leaves you alone to linger in loneliness. You make your own place in the hearts of people who come in your life and live there long after you’ve gone.
Let no bitterness rob you of your sweetness. Make your dreams come true and always stay hopeful.
I remember picking up some flowers and taking it to where she lay peacefully, placing them in the coffin to bid a farewell to her along with a promise to carry on the legacy of nurturing relations and painting the sky on my canvas bright always.