For My Grandmother
By: thoward@amserv.com

I was adopted when I was 5 years old from my birth mother's half sister (they had the same father).  She raised me, but as a single mother with 5 teenage children, I spent a lot of my time at my Nani's (my adopted mother's mother) house.  She took me to church every Sunday.  My other cousin Aleema, who was a lot older than me, would be at my grandmother's house all the time with me.   My Nani was so beautiful and full of life to me.  I loved her so much.  I remember coming home one night around 9:00 when I was about 12 years old.  My mother was sitting on her bed and my older brothers were standing in the room, and til this day, I remember the look on my mother's face.  It was like someone sucked the life out of her.  Her eyes were red but she wasn't crying outloud.  I asked everyone, "what's wrong?"  I don't remember who told me, but when they told me that Nani had passed away in her sleep, I felt no emotion.  It was weird.  The day of her funeral, I got dressed up and we all went over to her house.  I remember not wanting to go to the funeral but I wasn't upset.  I still hadn't cried about her passing.  My mom told me to stay at the house with one of my other older cousins and as I looked in the mirror above the small fire place, I remembered thinking, she never said bye to me.  I didn't cry, I just knew that I didn't have closure.  A few years later when I was 18, my cousin Aleema got married.  Since we had moved to Florida after my mother remarried the father of her 5 birth children, my older sister and I drove up to New Jersey to go to my cousin's wedding.  My mother had flown up to the wedding a couple of days before we got there to help my aunt set up for my cousin's wedding.  I remember thinking to myself, "Gosh, I wish Nani could be here to see this".  I never talked about my Nani infront of my mom because she would always get so emotional because they were really close.  The wedding was going on and then it was time to drive back from Jersey to Florida.  On the highway, I remember looking up at the sky as I was riding in the back seat and this overwhelming feeling of peace came over me.  I drifted into this deep sleep that to this day, I can't explain.  I was taken away from the world and place in what I call "the spirit world".  In front of me, I saw my Nani.  I wasn't scared, I was happy!  I remember what she said to me, she said "Tara, I was there.  Tell everyone not to worry, I was there.  Tell them that I love them so much."  My sister woke me up from the front seat because she said that I sounded like I was crying in my sleep so she thought I was having a nightmare.  I finally cried for my Nani's death!  I wanted to tell my mom what just happened but I didn't want to make her cry or upset her.  I didn't say anything to anyone that was in the car.  I picked up my cell phone and called my mother who was still in New Jersey.  I told her about Nani coming to me in my sleep and she was silent.  She said to me, "Tara, she came to me too."  I cried the rest of the way home.  I got greedy and asked God to send her to me one more time so that I can talk to her and tell her how much she meant to me.  The idea that she was dead didn't bother me, I just wanted one more time.  I am ever greatful to my Nani and everything that she has done for me.  My mom has a beautiful picture of her up in the living room and although I am grown and out of the house,  when I got to my mom's house, I look at that picture from time to time and smile because I truly felt she knew I didn't have the closure that I needed.  Sometimes I think, it was just a dream, but it wasn't.  It was God sending her to me because I needed him to.
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