Friday, December 26, 2008


she was in my dreams the other night
after a very long hiatus
. . . my Nana

i sure miss her
she's been gone for, hmmm. . for . . .
over a dozen years now

I've had many dreams about her,
dreams too of my grandfather,
but mostly of Nana

Nana had a bad leg.
It couldn't bend and was shorter than her good leg.
It gave her quite a pronounced limp.
When she was 16, she was walking down the street,
a drunk driver jumped the curb and plowed her through a basement apartment window, leaving her hanging from that windowframe with a shattered limb.
The doctors did their best. . they put in pins and rods, which were attached to external fixation. This remained in place for I don't know how long.
They would turn these pins to lengthen the leg, to try to match the other.
but the doctors said she'd never walk again
never have children.
She would not listen
and she did and she did!
She was feisty and tenacious
someone i greatly admired
and sorely miss

When i dream of her, she's perfect.
No limp, no shortened leg
no rheumatoid arthritis crippling her hands
no dense stroke or inability to speak

In one of my early dreams after her death.
She was fresh and young
sitting cross legged on the floor,
telling me: "God wants us to be like little children, Kathie."
She was so 'light' and joyful. . not serious
I could not believe that she could do that. .
sit like that.
It made me so happy.
Her message to me was perfect at a time when things felt so complicated.

I always go there, to her house, in my dreams.
I miss it.
University students live there now.
They nuke popcorn in the kitchen where my sisters and i jumped on
all the black tiles,
then switched to the white ones. .
where the cuckoo clock delighted us,
with its chirpy occupant
and its interesting pine cone weights, hanging..
They sleep in my grandfather's study. .
where his books lined the back wall from floor to ceiling,
where we typed notes on his ancient black Remington-Rand manual typewriter
and sat at his desk, in his big chair
They neglect the backyard gardens that were my grandparents' pride and passion,
where memories of clematis vines climbed ghost trellises and white nicotinas and pale nasturtiums hugged the foundation walls.
They sit and watch DVDs in the front room we Christmased in. .
where the Christmas tree, complete with spun glass 'angel hair' stood.
the front room in which my grandpa would bounce us on his knee and give us
sandpapery 'whisker rubs' on our cheeks.
The room in which they kept a bowl of candies for us to eat. .
licorice babies, satin mix hard candies, humbugs.
They Macbook in the room i've hidden from my sisters in, while playing. .
in the room i threw up in on sleepovers
They store their beer in the place where i sat and watched Nana
shake Fells Naptha soap powder into the round tub of her turquoise wringer washer
and push the clothes through the ringer with the end of a wooden spoon
They store boxes in the area where the "Rogues gallery" picture wall displayed black and whites of our baby Uncle Vic with his rosy coloured in cheeks, our child mother walking downtown with our young grandfather, our Nana, dressed like a 'flapper', and various unsmiling 'strangers',greats and great greats. . old fashionedly dressed trunks of the family tree. .

I never have a dream where I am not in that house. .

Whenever we have occasion to drive to my birth city
The van will end up on their street
and I will sit and look at that house. .
and it will always be theirs
and I will always have crawled across its floors with chubby knees and learned to talk in it
and sat on my orange stool at the counter and watched Nana cook
and ate fine meals in it
and climbed its stout maple on the front lawn
and been a granddaughter in it
and been loved. .

Nana introduced me to my grandfather's father the other night
She told me to be mindful not to
disturb him.
I've never seen a photograph of him,
i don't know what he looks like
he drowned in the Grand River and left his wife and children alone
in a new country *they had come here from England*
He sat at my Nana's kitchen table
He was slim,
with dark, wavy hair
and a moustache
He was dressed in antiquated clothing
He didn't speak to me
but he looked at me
and i looked at him
and then they were gone
and i was back home
i looked over at my sleeping husband
and thought "Wow, what was that about?"

I have strange dreams
but often they are
significant to me.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I wish I had a memory like yours, Kat... so vivid, so beautiful.

Instead, I struggle to hold onto memories of my grandparents. I miss them dearly... my grandmother has also been gone about a dozen years. I was 10 when she died... when my life fell apart.

I'm glad you have dreams about your nana. You are an amazing grandma to your grandkids- maybe they will go to your house in their dreams.