I dreamed about my grandmother’s house last week.
I’ve often dreamed about my Grandma Ruby’s house, torn down a few years ago, but I can still navigate it in my memories.
But last night, the dream was about my Grandma Polly’s house. A small, old house with a floor furnace that used to scare me. It sits across from my aunt and uncle’s house in a tiny Missouri town I only visit at Christmas now. A new family lives there now, eating dinner in the kitchen where a coat of paint covers up the growth chart on the paneling next to the cellar door, etched with dates and names. Me. My brother. My cousins.
I dreamed about the house the way it used to be. The way it was the last time I saw it when she lived there. I was sleeping in the room that had been my mother’s, in the bed with the bookshelves on the headboard. In the dream, I walked from the kitchen down the hallway darkened by paneling so popular in the ’70s, past the bathroom, the picture of Jesus knocking on a door, my grandparents’ bedroom, and the living room. I remembered it all: the pictures on the wall, the color of the carpet in their bedroom, the bookshelves just inside the living room door where my grandma had displayed the photographs of her grandkids.
Sometimes, I get homesick for the way things used to be. When we could hop in a car on a Sunday afternoon and go see my grandma. She was one of my biggest fans, and I miss her.
Not with the biting grief of those first months after her final stroke, but a gentle grief. A happy grief if there can be such a thing. I am happy that I got to be her granddaughter (the only one), and happy that she is at peace. I am happy that my memories of her are good and that I know she loved me. I am happy that grief still comes, mostly unexpected, because it reminds me of the depth of her love for me.