Nostalgia is the ultimate time machine.
People have written books, made movies and done, I'm guessing, legitimate research on time travel, but there is no time travel quite like nostalgia.
This weekend, I hopped aboard the nostalgia train and traveled back in time. My goal was to go through the tubs of crap that we shoved into the guest room closet when we moved, but you know how that goes. I opened the first box and voilá, my entire life in photos smacked me in the face. It would have been just plain lazy of me to not take that moment to dust off the shelves of memories in my brain. To clear off some cobwebs and even have a good cry.
The tears came the instant I saw the photos above. It's a picture of me and my Grandma Fenner, who passed away on October 8, 2012. We were at my bridal shower in the summer of 2009 at my parents' house. My grandma wasn't much for pictures, but my friend and bridesmaid, Jess, captured this moment. I'm so glad she did. My grandma looks so happy and full of life. It's exactly how I remember her.
Grief isn't something that goes away. It's something you learn to live with. And from time to time we find ourselves confronted with triggers that cue the emotional pain we still carry, and will continue to carry for the rest of our lives.
When I looked at this picture, I traveled back in time to where all the good memories of my grandma reside. How she loved unconditionally. How she always had popsicles and homemade, chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. And the only time I ever heard her curse after she tediously picked all the toppings off her pizza just to drop it on the floor as soon as she was done. I still pick the toppings off my pizza just like her.
I also traveled back to the day she left us. To the phone call from my dad that morning. To the calling hours when they first opened the doors for our family to enter. To the closing of her casket for the last time. To the caravan from the funeral home to the cemetery. To the yellow rose (her favorite) that I kept from her casket and dried. The same yellow rose that I almost threw away when we moved, but couldn't. And didn't.
I was reminded of this nostalgic train ride this morning while I was in the shower. I had closed my eyes to rinse the shampoo out of my hair and when I opened my eyes and glanced at the glass shower door, I saw the outline of an angel. Now, just like that Jesus toast, there are many explanations of what I saw on the shower door - think Rorschach ink blot test - but I choose to believe that it was an angel. I also choose to believe that my grandma is an angel. When I closed my eyes again to rinse the conditioner out of my hair, the angel was gone.
Yes, nostalgia is the ultimate time machine.