a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

The White Lily

< by Brennan >

My grandmother, Mimi, whom I have mentioned before, was a remarkable woman. She lived to be 89 years old, and only really passed away because she refused to succumb to the regimen of medications the doctors told her she needed. Typical Mimi, goes out on her own terms.

Two weeks before she suffered the heart attack that ultimately resulted in her death, Mimi was with me in the hot Richmond summer heat, moving into my dormitory for the summer Governor’s school program. Keep in mind: 89, hot as Hades on a warm night, and a dormitory with no elevator but stairs up to my third floor room. And Mimi is hauling luggage like she has been hired for the day, refusing to let anyone else carry her grandson’s things.

On that day, she gave me a white lily she had picked up from her favorite store, Farm Fresh, because she said it made her think of me in the way it was beautiful in the light. I, at the time, being a high school, thought it sappy and emotional. But I kept it, because I cherished anything Mimi gave me, including my love for butterscotch pudding and Ramen noodles; they were remarkably delicious when prepared by her.

When Mimi passed away, I was keeping a journal, per her request, about my time in Governor’s school, and I was happy I had done so. I look back now on the journal and laugh about the things I called myself, the ways I would think about other people in the program, and the things I imagined would be happening to me. The night she died, I wrote an impassioned remembrance of Mimi, overwrought with emotions.

The setting is now this year, 2013, and I am going through my room for old things that I want to keep or discard. I find my journal, and I know what entry is waiting for me in July, what I have to reread and relive for a moment. And when I turn the page, the flower, pressed into the page, is still there. Old, and tattered, but pressed into the paper, holding all of the emotion and energy from that night.

I begin to cry, missing Mimi more than I ever have, as the flower carries with it the powerful smell of the hot summer day, the buzzing of the insects, the chatter of new faces and friends, and the sights of a new home for a summer. Mimi was proud of me, and her memory is something I will always cherish, and it is the first time in my life that a flower has truly carried the power of memory with it for me.

1 Comment»

  Kate @ The Kate Keeper wrote @

This is really sweet. Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman.


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