A Long Awaited Brief Encounter

“Oh, Natalie! I’m so happy to see you!” she says as she runs towards me with her arms open wide to give me a huge hug.

“Mellie! I’ve missed you so much! I can’t believe you are here!”

Our embrace is strong and I don’t want to let go. I can feel her hugging me back and I can smell her. I’m crying – happy tears – and I know that our time together is going to go by much too quickly.

“Oh, honey. I know that you’ve missed me but I’m with you always. I was there when my sister called to let you know that I had passed away. And I was there when you held my hand and cried because I was gone. I was there when you held Jason and helped him grieve.

I was there when you found out you were pregnant with Ethan and I was there when you delivered him. You made Jason so happy – I’ve never seen him so happy! I was there when Lila and Mia were born and I made sure that they were safe while you were recovering from your c-section anesthesia. I know you were worried about them, but there was never any reason to…I was there.

I was there when you and Jason brought your children home and during all those nights you were awake to feed them…it was me whispering that you COULD do this and that you ARE a good mom, even when you had your biggest doubts and thought you couldn’t go on.

And where are my beautiful grandchildren?”

“Mellie, this is Ethan.”

“He’s even more beautiful than I thought he was!” And with that, she scoops him up into her arms and whispers that she is his Grandma Mellie. He tells her “I know. I love you Grandma. Mommy and Daddy tell me about you all the time. Can you stay with us?”

“No, I can’t. I can only stay a few hours. But I want you to show me your dance moves.”

“Okay, Grandma! Watch this guys!” And he dances off with his little guitar to show us his moves.

“Mellie, this is Lila and this is Mia.”

The twins run directly into her waiting arms. They point at her and plant the open mouth kisses that they are normally so stingy about giving right on her cheeks and eyes and lips. “Well, you girls are beautiful! Lila, you look just like your Auntie S! Mia, you look just like your brother and your mom.”

“Hey Grandma! Check this out!” Ethan than starts air-guitaring, Jimi Hendrix style.

“Yes Ethan! You are such a good dancer and guitar player!”
“Mellie, the kids have to leave now. I’m so glad that you got to meet them and that they got to meet you and see how wonderful you are.”

“Bye Grandma! Come back and see me again. I love you!” And they are gone.

I spend the rest of our brief time together asking for her opinions and advice on being a mom. I ask her for her secret recipes and how she makes the cookies that Jason loves so much. I try to fill her in on our lives; the day-to-day stuff and the big events, even though I know that she sees it all. I tell her that I don’t want her to go back to Heaven, that I can’t tell her goodbye again. That it isn’t fair that she doesn’t get to see her grandkids grow up: their first sports games, their first days of school, the days they get married and have their own children.

“But I will be there. You won’t be able to see me, but sometimes you will hear me or feel me or smell me. And on those days that you feel like you just can’t do it anymore, those days you feel like you can’t be a mom because you aren’t any good at it…those are the days that I stand right next to you and give you the energy and the courage to keep going. Those days that you wish I was there and you cry because I’m missing out on something big or small, I’m there then, too.”

“It isn’t the same thing, though. I feel like you were cheated, that we were all cheated.”

“I know, but I promise you, I am always there.”

I feel her wrap her arms around me one more time, and she is gone.

And so it goes…

I wrote this prompt for the Red Writing Hood. The prompt was: If you could spend the afternoon with anyone who is no longer alive, who would it be and what would you do? (And yes, we mean someone who has died that you would want to spend a day with, not that you would spend the day with an actual dead person!)


  1. MamaOnDaGo says:
    You're writing is so touching. I was there meeting Grandma with the kids. I felt like I was part of your family for a brief moment.
  2. OH my! I have tears...this is stunningly beautiful. I am touched and overwhelmed and can feel the emotion. My grandparents all passed when they were so young and I would give anything for them to meet my kids...or to have some time with them now.
  3. Soge shirts says:
    Another really sentimental post. Was this your mother in law? You really invoked a lot of emotion. Really wish she would have got to see her grandkids.
  4. Beautiful!!
  5. Natalie,
    That was just lovely. What a beautiful post. And how comforting to know that she is there with you all.
  6. Okay, you made me tear up over my coffee this morning...

  7. Belle's Butterfly says:
    Natalie this is such a beautiful post. I was tearing up. As always wonderful writing.
  8. I'm all tears and stuff. That was really, really good!
  9. Oh thanks - you made me cry in my coffee. Beautiful Natalie!
  10. These are one of those posts that give me non-stop chills as I read it. {shiver}
  11. The Sharp's says:
    This Red Writing Hood prompt has left me in tears twice now. What I wouldn't give to introduce my kids to my grandparents in this way!
  12. lovely post natalie...
  13. Ugh, this is just so perfectly written right from the heart. I too long for my Grandmother and I cried reading through your post. Wouldn't it be great to see them just one more time.
  14. My father didn't meet two of my kids (he died before I was pg w/ X) so I'm sad he's missing out on them. I can totally relate to that feeling.
  15. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:
    Hubs and I feel that same way about his dad. Constantly saying things like, "Grandpa Kestner would have loved to see you play soccer." Things like that. Good to have people we miss though, rather than not having good family relationships enjoy, for however long.
  16. Ok Natalie...I'm sobbing. I miss Mellie too. She was a wonderful women, and we are so blessed to have had her in our lives.
  17. my father-in-law didn't meet any of his grandkids.

    "I am there."

    When I look at Eddie? I feel like he *knows* his papa. How? I can't explain.

    "I am there."

    happy sighs.
  18. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:
    Oh sweetness...

    What a lovely piece...this was too emotional a prompt.

    I sobbed my eyes out after Nichole's piece.

    And I lost my last gramma this year.

  19. That is so, so sweet. I literally started sobbing right before my conference call.

    I am sure she is still with you. Right now, as I cry.
  20. moveovermarypoppins.com says:
    Just beautiful, Natalie.

    She was definitely smiling on you when you wrote that.
  21. What a lovely post.
    It's good you had a close relationship and can pass your memories along to your children.
  22. I feel the same way about my grandmother. She was such a warm caring woman. I wish she could have known her grandkids.

    This was so sweet. I'm sure your Mom is smiling down at you
  23. The Drama Mama says:
    I'm flat out bawling. You have captured so beautifully all these emotions. You have managed to surpass expectations and comfort in return. Seriously fabulous. I don't think it could have been better written. When it comes from the heart, it's true.
  24. The Flying Chalupa says:
    Wouldn't it be so, so wonderful if that could really happen? That we could spend the day with a loved one who's no longer with us? What a lovely story. And as long as you keep talking about her and keep her vivid in your memories, Mellie really IS alive, for you and your children.
  25. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:
    That would be such a great afternoon to experience. This is a really touching post - I'm sure she's saying all of those things exactly as she's watching you from above.
  26. Together We Save says:
    Oh wow - that was beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes!!
  27. Candice @ Fashionably Organized says:
    Absolutely beautiful! It's funny because I often say to my mother how I wish my grandmother could've seen my kids. She says that she has and I know that in my heart. You expressed that feeling so well, and you had the perfect day w/your loved one. It was very moving.
  28. Jenni Chiu says:
    That is all.
  29. Seriously, that gave me chills! Beautiful! Reminds me that those we love are always with us and I do truly believe that. Quick story, my uncle died far too young, in his early 50s. My cousin, his daughter was getting married several years following his death. Just before she began her walk down the aisle at her beautiful spring outdoor wedding in picturesque Virginia, she mentioned to those around her that she knew her dad was watching. Just about that time as she took her first steps, a breeze came out of nowhere on an otherwise completely still afternoon and lifted her veil carrying on a cloud of air for what seemed to everyone to be several minutes. Whew, I tear up just thinking about it. Powerful stuff, and peace in knowing that we will all meet again some day! Have a wonderful day and thanks for sharing your story.
  30. Oh, Natalie, this post has left me weeping.

    The love that you felt for her and the yearning still in your heart leap off the screen.

    I am in love with this passage, "on those days that you feel like you just can't do it anymore, those days you feel like you can't be a mom because you aren't any good at it...those are the days that I stand right next to you and give you the energy and the courage to keep going."

    Huge sobs...
    Amazing job.
  31. Wow. Very touching post, Natalie and one that probably many can relate to. Thanks for sharing it!
  32. Oh, more tears! This is really touching. I can only wish that I had that kind of relationship with my mother-in-law. It seems as though she was the type of woman whose spirit will live on through those who knew her.
  33. Bitter Betty says:
    Wow! Lovely! Really!
  34. Jessica Anne says:
    So lovely. I love the idea of having them right there all the time and not really missing anything.
  35. You have talked about feeling your mother in law before, with this piece, it's so obvious you do. This was just perfect.
  36. Sharlene T. says:
    That's exactly how it is and, yet, so hard to convince others that it happens... Thanks for a great telling... You are truly gifted...
  37. Wow, cute kiddo names. Maybe I'll enlist you to name mine.
  38. ~*Sammie y Gary*~ says:
    Very touching <3
  39. Very sweet. I always feel like my Grandma's with me, too.
  40. I am late to this post...but it's beautiful, Natalie! I felt like I was sitting there with you all. She was obviously someone you love very much.
  41. Megan (Best of Fates) says:
    Ugh, and now I'm crying! Why would you do this to me?
  42. The Sweetest says:
    Oh, this was so lovely. I hope you felt as good after writing it as I did after reading it.
  43. Avante Garde Parenting says:
    Wow. Just wow. I'm ready for your novel. When did you say it was coming out? ;)
  44. Have I told you how much I love your writing? Beautiful. And I wish my dad's parents could have lived, they died shortly after we immigrated,what a difference they would have made in my life.
  45. Beautiful post. I saw this prompt and just couldn't go there. You did it beautifully! I know I said that already, but really, I am overwhelmed. You obviously love and miss your grandmother very much and carry her close in your heart.
  46. That brought tears to my eyes! I'm so glad you posted this in your "Best of 2010" list. So glad I found your blog!


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