“You should have it before I die.”
“Thanks Gram, but please don’t die yet.”
My Grammy is still alive, thank G-d. She’s 96, lives independently in Florida and still drives. She’s awesome. Gram is a woman who did yoga before it was cool, taught me about sex, and would ask our boyfriends about their financials before it got too serious.
I saw her last weekend and she gave me a bracelet. She gave all of her granddaughters a piece of jewelry because as she says, we should have it before she dies.
Gram has the best jewelry. She’s had two generous husbands, held a job most of her life, has traveled all over the world, and taught me the meaning of an “important” piece. (A high value piece of jewelry in weight and quality.) When she travels now, her most important jewels travel in her safest place…her bra. I’m not sure what happens when she goes through security, but no TSA agent wants to mess with Gram.
As kids we spent hours dressing up in her gems and furs and beads…just the fake stuff of course. She’s spent the last few years telling us grandchildren that the jewelry goes to her daughters-in-law first and they get to distribute it when she’s gone. We’d respond, “Whatever Gram, don’t die.”
But now she’s 96, and her mortality is ever-present. We recently spent the weekend together in New Jersey and when she wasn’t pressing $5 bills into the hands of the great-grandchildren, she was sneaking us gold and diamonds embedded in some of her favorite pieces. She got tired of waiting to die so we could have her pretty things. It wasn’t sad, it was sweet. She claims she doesn’t wear her good things anymore and wanted to see them worn again. I think this is the way to do it. Had I received a piece of jewelry from her in her will I would have felt mournful every time I wore it. But now as I look at my wrist I smile thinking of her secretly shoving the diamond studded gold bracelet into my hand and saying, “Not all the grandchildren got diamonds…so you don’t have to show it to the others.” We all know it’s not about the value of the piece, it’s about its soul.
Gram knows she can’t take her “important” pieces with her when she does choose to leave us. But life feels short even at 96, and she wants us to sparkle as much as we can while we’re here.
I hope she lives forever, but when it is her time she is going to have a great view from heaven of all of us sparkling with her beautiful spirit.