As I gazed at the charm bracelet stuck deep inside the right hand corner of my grandmother's old jewelry box, my breath caught in my throat. I realized she had saved it all those years just because it was mine. I had gotten the bracelet for Christmas over forty years ago and had completely forgotten about it. I was stunned to see it again as I noticed the clasp was broken, but she had still stored it in a safe place even though it had no value at all, except I suppose to her. She loved me.
There is nothing on the face of this earth that can compare with the love between a grandmother and a granddaughter. I use to wonder why, but I've come to realize it's just one of those things that belongs to the rules of the universe.
If I was hurt, she would make my pain disappear. If I was frightened, she would comfort me and my fear would float down the hall and out the screen door. When my spirits needed lifting, she was there almost like an angel with invisible wings bringing me comfort. I could call upon her for support and she would rush to my side.
When I was a very young girl, I started staying at my grandmother's old two-story white house quite often. She doted on me and I adored her.
When I was three years old, I ran all around the house. I pulled all the books off the shelves. I flushed everything I could find down the toilet. I know I drove her crazy.
I grew and I grew and I grew until I was six years old. I opened the refrigerator door a hundred times a day. I ran out the door, slamming it shut every five minutes. I ran for the phone when it rang, grabbing it before she could reach it. I ran though the clean clothes hanging on the line with dirty hands, and I asked for a drink of water no less than 50 times a day. I know I drove her crazy.
I grew and I grew and I grew. I grew until I was nine years old. And when I was at my grandmother's house, I never wanted to come in for supper and never wanted to take a bath. I know I drove her crazy.
I grew and I grew and I grew. I grew until I was a teenager. I had strange friends, wore strange clothes, and listened to weird music. I didn't have time for her anymore, and I know I drove her crazy.
I grew and I grew until I became an adult with my own life. And once again, I didn't have a lot of time for her.
It's funny how quickly things change. My grandmother grew older and older and was sick more often, until the day came when I had to start taking care of her. It was like a strange dream. She had lost her fire. The sadness crept in on me slowly as she became more distant and fragile. She no longer had a garden and she couldn't mow the yard. Her flowers were all fading and the porch needed painting. She got older.
I always thought I would have time to repay her for every wonderful thing she had ever done for me during my lifetime. But time ran out and one day, suddenly she was gone. I was left with an emotional debt that weighed heavy on my heart and soul.
But when I found that charm bracelet a few days after she died, the sadness and pain fell away from me in that moment. I realized in my heart there was no debt to be repaid, because you can't put a price on love.
And sometimes, when I'm feeling down and lonely, I close my eyes and think of my charm bracelet. My heart opens up and I reconnect with my grandmother and realize she is always with me.
“There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the really great man is the man who makes every man feel great.”
I'd like to wish a speedy recovery to Lona Vinson who I understand had heart surgery at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville on Monday, March 19. Get well soon, Lona.