“Now shhhhhhhh,” she says, “you’ve said it all once and now you’re repeating yourself. It’s time to listen to someone with some age on her bones.”
I tried to stop the pointless murmuring coming from my lips and tune into her voice. The phone was slippery against my wet cheek and I pushed it closer to block out the sound of my brain.
“Now, you listen to me. Life is hard. It’s hard for everyone and if it wasn’t this it would be something else. The trick is to be thankful for your own set of troubles because believe you me, you don’t want someone else’. Yes, you’ve got it hard and I know it. Your mother knows it. And I get so mad when I think of all the things we need answers for that we don’t have here on this earth.”
“But, Gramma, how come you can call me on the phone? You aren’t alive.” I held my breath and waited for her answer.
“Don’t worry about that. The important thing is that you can hear me. So, listen up. Now, I know God has a plan and He loves you very much. You are a strong and beautiful person and a treasure to me, Grandpa, your parents, your family – even those that have gone on before.”
“But, Gramma, I don’t believe in all that church stuff. I don’t believe there is some plan. I have no idea what happens when we die but I don’t think it’s that churchy stuff.”
“You can go on thinking whatever you want. And I’ll keep telling you what the truth is. Now, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to look in the mirror and tell yourself that your Grandma loves you more than you’ll ever know. Next you’ll tell yourself that your Grandma knows you can do whatever it is you have to do. And that you’re strong. And special. I know! You don’t believe it about yourself but you DO believe that your Grandma does. So, you just keep repeating that. Your Grandma knows and she loves you. And I can’t touch you right now but you better believe that if I could I’d be squeezing the stuffing out of you. And that will have to do.”
And then I woke up.