The brick porch felt strong and substantial. Sitting on a chair next to my Grandma I considered just how much I loved this tiny lady. At ten years old I was already several inches taller than my almost five foot Grandma. Tiny or not I always felt safe with Grandma. It was obvious that Grandma was tiny in a physical sense. It was also obvious to anyone who knew Grandma that she was powerful in every other way.
Grandma was given a terminal diagnosis when she was in her fifties. Pernicious anemia, a genetic disorder, caused her body to stop assimilating the very important vitamin B12. This was long before science discovered that B12 shots did the job that ingesting food no longer accomplished.
Grandma did NOT wish to die. She had many, many, more things she wanted to accomplish before her life was done. Grandma went to the library. She did research. Health food stores were one of her favorite resources for information. Gleaning through all of the ideas she discovered that grinding up raw liver, and blending it with Brewers Yeast, then eating it, forced her body to accept the B12. I think I would rather DIE than eat RAW LIVER!
Her husband died thirty years before she did. Grandma did NOT quit living. She stayed one night with her son and daughter-in law at their request and then she went home. She said, "I'm not moving. So I need to learn how to live alone. I might as well do it now." At that time her home was out in the country. Nights were silent and alone. Grandma simply faced what life had given her.
Now on her front porch we sat quietly for a space. Then we would speak for a space. The subject of our discussion has been lost to history. The feeling of safety sitting there with my strong, sassy, spunky, little Grandma will last the rest of my life. It was nearing the end of August. I felt sad knowing that our summer chats on her porch were coming to an end. Soon I would return to school.
School was a place of sorrow for me. I NEVER felt safe at school. I was bullied from the first day of first grade. Grandma and her porch were my Sanctuary of Safety. I listened to the evening sounds. I wanted to remember these feelings for the harsh, dark, days of winter that were coming.
That ten year old child didn't understand that much later in life the sanctuary of her Grandma's porch would only be a memory. She just knew that right then, that place, that time, she was safe, her Grandma loved her, and that was enough.
I'm fifty-eight now. Grandma has long passed into immortality. Yet tonight is late August, and the night music of the crickets bring her back to me!