Through the years I've wished I could remember my grandmothers voices, my mommy's voice and Aunt Dorothy's laugh. I can't hear them in my mind no matter how hard I try to remember. I can remember that Aunt Dorothy laughed out loud but I cannot hear it.
That makes what happened last night all the more meaningful. I heard my step-grandmother's voice. Not the 100 year old voice but her voice from younger, stronger days.
She and I were estranged in these last years before she died. Six or eight years ago she felt a need to write me a letter about repenting from my "lifestyle". I tried to temper my response noting that my lifestyle is pretty ordinary - going to work every day, volunteering, caring for my dog... And I wrote that being a lesbian is very much like being left handed. It's just the natural way I was born. And I noted that many years ago being left handed was considered a mark of Satan, people were forced to be right handed, and that the world is mostly over that now. I had no idea, until I got her response, that she had been born left handed and forced to be right handed. Of course, she stuck to her position and said it didn't hurt her a bit to be forced to be right handed.
I threw the letters away and have tried not to worry about it, understanding that she was old, set in her ways, and likely thought she was trying to do something good. But it was painful and caused some conflicts.
So, I was quite surprised to hear her voice last night. I was sitting at the computer, reading news about gay marriage issues as I tend to do. She startled me. As clear as if she were right beside me, "It's ok to be left handed." she said. I recognized her voice immediately and smiled.
"The grass really is greener on the other side." I said back.
Oddly, today I cannot recall her voice any more than I can any of the others. Some may say I'm crazy but I know it really was her.
Thank you Grandma Elsie.