Every year on my Grandmother’s birthday I would write her a letter and a poem. Writing poems for Mimi was easy. All I had to do was picture her in my mind and her all-pervasive love would immediately be translated into words. This is the first year I will not be reading Mimi a poem on her birthday. I will not be eating chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I will not be telling her about how getting a sneak peek at the mini water guns she bought for our family trip was the thrill of my eight year old lifetime. But that she already knows. She always knew exactly how I felt about her. And since I will not be telling Mimi what she means to me today, I will tell you. Because when I write about Mimi, there her love manifests. After she left her body I wrote the following to share with family and friends. In reading it, I hope you experience the love from which it was born.
It is difficult to try to begin speaking about Mimi because it is impossible to contain the vastness of her love, her life, her spirit into the confines of mere language. Speaking to the life that is Mimi is impossible, but year after year I’ve attempted to do it through poetry. Mimi was my muse. I could go a whole year with writer’s block but when Mimi’s birthday came along the words would flood right through me as I thought of how to express my love, appreciation, and awed wonder to her. I would sit in front of my computer, close my eyes, and her loving presence would flood my being, and it was easily followed by words.
Mimi’s presence has permeated my life and the lives of countless others in utterly unknowable ways. I wish I could recount moment by moment the endless sweet memories of being raised by Mimi who was another mother to my brothers and I. But they are altogether too perfect to be recreated through thought. They live within me, growing up my soul into its fullest expression. They nourish all those who I meet through the joy they continually foster within me. They inform the world I experience through the patient thoughtfulness, understanding, compassion, intellectual vigor, and fierce love that Mimi bestowed upon me generously, without end, from the depth of her being.
Mimi taught love by being love. Everywhere we went Mimi met an old friend. These old friends were people she had sat next to on a train, and taken a cab with, or crossed the street near. She loved humanity and humanity loved her in return. Wherever she went, Mimi found people to love.
I learned what love was by watching Bop and Mimi’s relationship. The love they shared with each other was so great that it overflowed from their union and created this beautiful family, and committed community of friends. Bop and Mimi’s love is a gift that will eternally give to all who come to bask in its radiant peace.
I learned how to love friends by Mimi’s love of her friends. They were a shining light in her life, as she was in theirs. And seeing her devotion and caring for her friends imbued within her children and grandchildren the kindness and appreciation that are the life breath of true, authentic relationship.
Mimi’s love for all of us is indescribably vast. But I feel it. I’ve always felt it, and I always will. Her love teaches me the essence of eternity. Her love teaches me the essence of God. Mimi and I connected on the level of the soul. She was a human allowing the universe to live out its greatest purposes through her, and I got to be a part of that. It is the blessing of my lifetime. Her being introduced me to my own, and when we were together we got to rest in the truth of God’s love, in which we move and breathe and have our being. Together the barriers that separate human from human were shown up to be mere curtains. Together we peered behind the curtains, we saw the truth of the reality of our unity, and we rejoiced in our oneness.
Mimi’s curtains are gone now. May she inspire us to see behind the facades that seem to separate us from each other, and to see who we truly are inside our own protective coverings. Mimi is there. She rejoices within us when we rejoice in each other, seeing the love that each of us share as our true selves.