Forget-me-not

Name one person or event that has had a significant impact/influence on your life

Her hands were as tough as leather, but they felt like velvet to me. She smelled unlike most grandmothers, constantly encompassed by a pungent aroma of fresh mimosas and blooming marigolds. I think it was her eyes that captivated me most as a young girl, soft and blue like violets and deeper than the sandy waves that crashed outside her garden. It was there that my grandmother spent most of her time. If I ever were to call her or stop by to visit, I was sure I could find her on her knees in her frayed, holey overalls and dirt encrusted green gloves with a shovel in hand. I can clearly visualize her straw sunhat, with its pointed ends sticking out all over and little bursts of sunlight peeping through the slivers and gaps. As I sauntered into her yard, I was bombarded with a mixture of salty ocean air and the fragrance of thriving tulips. That day, the sky was a dull picture, with hardly any sun and even less color, yet the vivid paints of Grandma Jeanie’s garden breathed life and warmth into the scene. The constant drone of the rocking ocean waves brought peace to my unsettled mind. It was excruciating having to be here during a time like this, when Grandma Jeanie was not in her usual poised and commodious state. I didn’t expect her to greet me with her familiar glowing and gay spirit, yet when she glanced up at me with her glassy violet eyes, I couldn’t help but long for the same granny that had once held me in her creaking rocking chair and swayed me to sleep. Just by looking, one would never tell that Grandma Jeanie had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her deep golden hair was as thick and rich as ever, and her skin conveyed years of care and attention. She still had a smile that brought solace to anyone’s heart, and her infatuating, melodious laughter was enough to make a man swoon. Nothing had really changed, except for the mordent reality that her body was nearly eating itself alive. But Grandma Jeanie was stubborn, and she refused to surrender her life to something as demoralizing as cancer. I knew she was suffering, but she would never admit it. When asked how she was, she replied, “Bright as the morning sun and never been better!” When asked how her day was, she responded, “The day is what you make of it.” Here, in her garden, all thoughts of pain and death had vanished, and the only things remaining were peace and tranquility. That was the way she liked it. I knelt down beside her and took hold of a few bulbs to plant. I was fairly acclimated with the flowers in her garden, yet I had never seen these before. When I asked what kind they were, she simply replied, “Forget-me-not’s”. We continued shoveling the clumps of moistened soil in silence, the only noise being the monotonous drone of the gentle sea. Part of me was afraid to speak; the other was content with the placidity of the situation. Eventually, we ran out of bulbs to plant, and as we repositioned ourselves on the recliners, I could sense that her mind was racing. Her violet eyes were fluttering, and her flushed lips were thirsty for words. I placed my hand over her freckled skin in a weak attempt to console my suffering grandmother. She leaned in towards me and faintly whispered, “Forget-me-not.”As I tossed the tousled blue flowers into the cold dirt hole, my eyes fell upon the scribbled note attached to the bouquet. I remembered writing it as I watched my family scramble into their dark, funeral-appropriate clothes. The writing may have been indecipherable to someone else’s eyes, but I knew what it read: Forget me not, Grandma Jeanie.

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