My grandma Rosemary died when I was ten. My memories of her are few and far between–mostly pieced together from old pictures and home videos.
She was a registered nurse–delivering hundreds of babies in a small town northeast of here. And she was a farmer’s wife. She served–in every sense of the word.
I can’t remember her face or her voice. But I remember the sound she made when she walked. She was always moving–she really never sat down. She always wore slacks (she called them slacks, not pants. also davenport, not couch. and supper, not dinner.) and when she walked–she swished. It was the busiest sound–swish, swish, swish.
I remember sitting in her kitchen the night she died–the absence of her and her sound were deafening.
. . .
Our first night home from the hospital with Johnny was a long one. I was afraid to put him down. Every time he cried, I picked him up and held him on my chest.
I was a new adoptive mother–trying to bond with my son. And trying my best to manage the stress that came with the hours that felt like years before our birthparents gave their consent. I was mentally and physically exhausted–I really don’t think I’d slept at all since his birth.
I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing–I felt totally inadequate–and I think he knew it. We were up most of the night.
I’d sent Danny to the guest room to sleep hours before. And I remember finally giving up at 4am–swaddling my newborn baby the way they’d shown me in the hospital and laying him down wide-awake in his bassinette.
I turned off the light and curled around my pillow. I closed my eyes. And I heard her.
Swish, swish, swish. I could hear that swishing sound. She was moving–in circles–all around his bassinette. And then I felt her–sitting next to me on the edge of the bed–her weight pulling the comforter down tight around my body.
I remember opening my eyes–wanting to see her. But there was no one there.
His bassinette was rocking all by itself next to me though–and he was sound asleep.
. . .
I know I was tired. I know I was probably grasping for something–anything to get me through that long first night of motherhood. But I also know what I heard–and felt. And I like to think if there was ever a time for a little visit–she would have picked that one night I needed her most.
I’ve experienced a few other “coincidences”–as my skeptical Aunt Mimi calls them–since then. Ha. But I’ll save those blog posts for another day.
Who else–anyone else out there know the feeling? I’d love to hear your stories too.