When I laid eyes on my nephew for the first time, it was like being struck by lightning. I finally understood what people refer to as unconditional love. I knew he was one of my people, I would defend him against anything, love him for all the world, and find such joy just being in the room with him. When he and his amazing brother leave the house when I am visiting Texas, it feels like all the hope and happiness has gone from the world. That’s how much I love being around them.
In the end, as it turns out, it is all about love. That big, big love. Not achievements. Not awards. Not anything else. It is about love and the capacity for love.
The capacity for love.
She had it in spades. Never, not even once in my entire life did I ever think that my Granny didn’t love me. In fact, her love was just about the most solid thing I knew as fact when I was a teenager.
She could always see the real me. The one that is inherently good, kind, giving. Loveable. She understood me and waited patiently for me to grow into my true self. (A task I am still attempting to achieve…)
She loved my brother in the exact same way. And my cousins. We were all the recipients of this generosity that seemed to have no bounds where we were concerned. She loved her children in this way. It’s like that pond that keeps replenishing itself, nomatter how often the water is drawn out. Both a miracle and a fact.
The last time I saw her alive she looked at me with her beautiful blues. She had a way of looking right at you as if she were gazing at a star on some faraway distant shore from across the endless waters of eternity. She could see me. She knew me. The real me. The potential me. She always believed in me.
As I sat with her in the living room, she told me it was such a joy just being in the room with me. I knew that feeling, but had no idea it ever applied to me. I held my tears in. It meant so much to be so loved.
It meant so much. It meant the world to me to hear that. There are things in life that seem to mean so much: bills, ambition, status etc. But nothing has ever touched my living soul the way that she did when she said that to me. That is what means so much. That love. Nothing else in this world even comes close.
It is important when living in a world where it sometimes seems as if absolutely no one really believes in you that at least one person does. It makes life worth living.
She did that for me.
Her death has carved out a giant Granny sized hole in my life that is only filled by the joy of her memories and the love she left for me. I loved sitting at the beach house in South Carolina, eating her amazing chocolate chip cookies, and asking her questions about life in the 1940’s and beyond. Showing her my version of the Charleston and hearing her talk of dances and how much she loved being social back then.
I can still hear her voice saying my name with her particular North Carolina accent. Almost like she was filled with both joy and surprise that I was even there in the room with her. Now I get it.
She was beautiful. Even in her later years, she still had very few wrinkles. She was kind. She loved us all unconditionally. For that I will be forever grateful.
It is that same unconditional love that I feel for my nephews, that my parents feel for me, that my Granny felt for us that is my surest proof of God in this world. Such love knows no boundaries, no death. Such love sees the truth of all of us. Our inherent innocence. And fills our hearts with that intangible something.
I still miss you, one year and two days later.