I looked at myself in the mirror. I noticed the lines of my face and
the curve of my neck. I looked down at my hands remembering the moment
I first realized that they looked like hers. Long, thin, delicate
hands perfect for playing the piano or braiding cornrows. All my life
I had not noticed until the day I sat at her bedside holding her hand
in mine. She had told me that she was not afraid to die. We sat in
silence for a long time, sometimes sharing a stare and a smile. I
don't know how long I sat there, looking at her, realizing for the
first time who I looked so much like. As I stood in front of the
mirror, I remembered that day as I prepared for her funeral. Sarah
Smith, my grandmother's going home day. My father asked me to do her
eulogy. I had thought and thought of ...view middle of the document...
Moving my head in reaction to the slightest
direction from her hands became natural. Other women and children
would come and sit while she picked out my hair and greased my scalp.
I would listen to the women talk. I don't remember anything that was
said but I do remember the comfort of the stoop and my grandmother's
fingers doing magic in my hair.
Sitting on the dock I realized that I had never known my grandmother's
life story. I don't know the struggles she must have had as a black
woman in the South raising two sons alone because her husband beat
her, and she had told him enough was enough. I don't know what it was
that kept her going through poverty. I do know that her trust and love
in God was deeply rooted in her heart. I do know that she was a
strong, dignified woman. I do know she had no problem telling a person
off when they overstepped their bounds. She was by no means a
conventional grandmother. She always seemed young to me; maybe that's
why I never really asked her questions about her life. I thought I had
time. The day I sat at her bedside I didn't realize it would be the
last day I'd see her alive. The very next day she passed on into the
"land of milk and honey."
God gave me a priceless gift that day, one that I will carry until I
meet her in eternity. It was in those moments of silence that I came
to know her. I saw in her eyes the things that she had never done or
said, the dreams she may have had that didn't come to fruition, the
joy that seeing her grandchildren gave her, and the energy behind her
It is enough for me now that I knew what her house smelled like, the
broadness of her smile, the light in her eyes, her love of dancing,
the sound of her laugh, the firmness of her voice, and the fact that
she loves me.