This I Believe

Daniella - Annandale, New Jersey
Entered on January 18, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I Believe That Love Transcends Time and Space

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” I hear this adage in my head, in my grandmother’s voice, on a daily basis and I smile. I had memorized so many of her sayings over the years that most times I would respond with, “Yes Gram, I know”.

At fourteen, my mom and I moved from living with my grandparents in a northern New Jersey suburb, to Boca Raton, Florida, where we had a vacation home. Compared to the social ways and norms of growing up in New Jersey, this Boca was something completely different. Blond, tan and blue eyes were in. Dark hair, Italian and being from New Jersey were not. I soon found out that navigating Boca’s shark tank (a.k.a. high school) would make me wish I was back in my room in New Jersey, with strains of Louis Armstrong drifting from my grandparents’ room down the hallway.

“I promise you things will get better.”

I was crying, telling Gram that I hated school and begged her to let me move back to New Jersey. Her words rang true; things improved over time. With her much-needed reassurance and kind words, life went on as planned.

“Save your money.”

Flash forward a few years. I’m back in New Jersey, living with my grandmother after having graduated from the University of Miami. Same house on the tree-lined street, but it was just the two of us this time around. My grandfather had died and mom had remarried while living in Florida. I could never measure how much I loved our talks over morning coffee, discussing everything and anything.

“Why should men buy the cow, when they can get the milk for free?”

It was September of 2001 and I was sitting in a hospital room, holding Gram’s hand. My mother, as well as my boyfriend at the time, had been in the room earlier. She was going into surgery for her cancer and as I look back, I think she knew it would be one of the last times we would ever speak.

“Gram, if something happens to you, send me a sign to let me know you’re alright. Send me a white feather.” She agreed and laughed, but her eyes were glassy. That was the last time we had a conversation, without the breathing tube or aided by the morphine. My boyfriend told her that he was going to propose to me – and wanted her to know, just in case anything happened.

I see Gram and the lessons she imparted on me every day, in the smallest of ways and I’m still amazed by it. When the Lilac bush blooms in our backyard, or even when my husband holds open my door, I feel her presence because those are things she loved and in which she found comfort.

This I believe: love transcends time and space. And when a white feather drifts my way, I close my eyes and smile.