I withdraw my curtain each night to gaze onto the stars
Clouded sometimes but a permanent firmament
The memories of a life living there now
I will be there looking out for you, thus said Grandma
A life much unsung but precious to the mindful few
My Grandma’s warmth and love adds to that twinkle
The one star that always shone brighter than others
Points to her abode in her new world.
Life with Grandma was a rollercoaster
Widowed very young with a daughter to support
She learnt to stand up and fight to thrive
Our mother born with a heart ailment
Died after her third child turned a year old
Three toddlers she left behind in her mothers arms
The situation that was stitched together by destiny
Caused an earth angel to take over to will us dreams.
It was Grandma who collected her brood
When the person whom we called Dad disappeared
We posed an inconvenience to his high flying life
Grandma was our Mum, Dad and of course herself
Time erased Dad’s shadow and set Grandma’s priorities
Days were filled with her stories and cuddles
Lessons, laughter and many loud sniffles
Bandaged knees and plastered hands too pooled in.
School life slipped by and we turned teens
Out of the shadows emerged a deadbeat father
Married again, he sauntered into our home one day
After adding two more kids to the previous count of three
He came bearing gifts and to beat down on Grandma
His words were just excuses that none of us valued
His absence was enough to tell the whole story–
Did we not make it as a family without him?
The absentee father now wanted us back
She won’t be able to afford you a good college education
He trumpeted to us in front of a greying woman
Grandma looked pitifully at him for a moment
Maybe weighing her option of cutting him down to size
Then shook her head resolutely and said–
It is their choice and so I’ll leave it to the children
So saying, she left the room but we toed in after her.
He left our home but not before vowing to call again
What followed was nothing short of a nightmare
Day in and day out Grandma was harassed and mocked
She became everyone’s punching bag
Accused of alienating the kids from their father
Neighbours and relations dropping hints
As to how an old woman who lived threadbare
Was vindictively holding back the bright future of three kids
One by one we emerged stronger from the pits
That was dug for us to take a fall
We did not want the things that easy money bought
Education, trips abroad or the flashy cars we saw his kids move in
We had warmth, we got care and we learnt to value hard work
We had a home built on hard earned money
Somewhere along the way
God too took a call
He set us all on the path of success without shortcuts.
Grandma was present at each one’s wedding
That is a blessing only a handful can admit to
Life has gone on for the three of us and for Grandma too
We took turns to be with her till God called her home
And she did go to occupy the brightest star above
Still watching over us and showering her blessings
A woman who fought to do what seemed right
Through all odds that humans stacked against her.
Finally life brings to light the true essence of who we are
We do get news of our Dad once in a while
Most are not good as his life is crammed with chaos
He lived in debt to put up a false front
With creditors lined at his doorstep he now lives in fear
He conspired to take us away from our home
God worked on his Karma to take away his home
Human greed will never be able to overpower love.
As participants in the game called life
The cards we drew were done with care
Sure turned out to be the most difficult ones to play with
But we prayed and played and hung in there
Held up for most part by the Hand of God
One thing is for sure that in the battles that were forced on us
God stood by us in every fight as dark forces gathered around
They bet on our failure but we have won with God on our side.
Rachel George is a retired college lecturer.