The other day, Harbour was holding my keys, trying to unlock the kitchen door. Then he pulled the keys back closer to him. There’s a small green capsule on my keyring, which he held in his yellow-gloved hand, turning it around and around. Then he said, “What’s this?” I told him that it’s a small container that holds some of my mom’s ashes. “But did she die?” he asked. “Yes, she did,” I answered. I don’t really know what he thought after that. He was quiet for a few seconds and then just wanted to get the door open, knowing that he could eat the cupcake we had just bought once he was inside.
He seemingly moved on, but I didn’t. Hearing his sweet, tiny voice talk about my mom – a woman he’ll never meet, a woman who will never hold him or know him – touched me more than I expected. Suddenly, I was aware of a connection, one that spans farther than my understanding. A connection between worlds known and unknown. In that moment, my mom became real again. It’s been so long since she passed away that it often feels like it was a different life. My mom is no longer tangible; she’s become a thought, a collection of memories. More often than not, those memories are hazy. I can no longer remember how her voice sounded. Because of that, I now have a harder time deleting voicemails from loved ones. If anything ever happens, I want to be able to hear them talk to me again. I want to know that I’ll have at least one crisp, clear memory. One way, no matter how small, to keep them in my world.
Hearing Harbour talk about my mom reminded me that she’s real. I don’t have to draw a line between life with her and life without her. She’ll always be a part of me, and she can be a part of his life as well. She’s still Grandma Beverly despite the fact that the two of them will never meet.