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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Helping Gracie Up

Helping Gracie Up


Gracie’s Dead met for lunch on a terrace overlooking the heavenly Adriatic Sea. Well, the spirits gathered weren’t just Gracie’s Dead. Except for Annie Claire, they each had many, many links to the living. Annie Claire was a heaven-born, and having been among the living a mere eighteen weeks, and in a womb at that, she hadn’t time to make connections, other than to her mother and father. Because Gracie thought of her lost daughter every day, Annie Claire always had easy access to her mother, and knew Gracie inside and out. Her father? Not so much.

Teresa and Otto, one set of Gracie’s great-grandparents, were hosting the festivities in a spirited version of their beloved Trieste. The party was winding down, and several of Gracie’s dead relations were dozing, lulled to sleepiness by the mild sea breeze.

“Okay, dearhearts. Let’s all have a cup of whatever you want to help you get serious, and we’ll have this meeting about my mother, shall we?” Annie Claire, a teenager now, called out brightly from her seat at the end of the long table. The dishes quickly cleared and cups and saucers, carafes of hot coffee and teapots, creamers and sugar bowls arrived.

“I’ll start things off with a brief report about Mom’s progress. She’s only left her house once, for groceries, in the last two weeks, but she has started playing piano again. Although she’s promised her brothers she’ll come visit them, she hasn’t bought any warm clothes for December in New York, or made plane reservations or anything. I’m worried that she’ll poop out on the trip.”

Dorothy, Gracie’s mother, said, “Well, I’ve been badgering her about new clothes, you know. E-mails and catalogues in the mail. I’m afraid she still has the “too poor to buy clothes” thinking she inherited from me. Damn that Depression!”

“Keep trying, Grandma. She’s never traveled anywhere without some new things to wear, which she also got from you, and she’s got more money in the bank then she ever had. You’ll help her with this security thing, I’m sure of it! Look how far you’ve come!”

“I have come a long way, it’s true. Then again, I’m in heaven,” Dorothy said.

“I’ve been working on her about music,” said Alex, Gracie’s brother. “She doesn’t want to perform, but I’m getting through to her, I think, about giving herself a break. She’s done enough. Jeez louise!”

Gracie’s father, new to death, and still fairly dumbstruck with heaven-wonder, cleared his throat. “I want to help her, but almost every time I visit her, she ends up thinking about how miserable I looked in that nursing home. I’m beginning to think I should stay out of her mind, at least until she perks up a bit.”

Ollie, a handsome Springer Spaniel, barked to get the crowd’s attention, then spoke in heaven’s universal language. “As we know, this sort of thing happens to the living when deaths stack up on them like some of ours did. Our Gracie’s faith is wobbly right now, and she could spiral dangerously down. However, I’ve talked to Blossom, who’s a lovebug if ever there was one, and she’s agreed to go back to the living and become Gracie’s dog. We don’t have all the details worked out, but she’ll get there soon, and then Gracie will have to take Blossom for walks, and she’ll start talking to her neighbors, going to the store to buy dog food and toys, all that soul-warming pet stuff. And we have plans for a particularly comforting and personable cat, Harry, to hang around Gracie’s house so that she can rescue him. Leave it to us. Gracie’s going to be fine. In fact, I predict that very soon she’s going to learn to just be. Animals are the best at just being and that’s what she needs to do now.

“All right! Hey, everybody!” said Annie Claire, who’d begun flitting around when Ollie was talking. “Mom’s starting to lighten up a bit. We’ve helped, I’m sure, but I think she wants to feel better herself, too. She was playing Mahler on her piano, then she switched to Mozart, and now she’s playing Scott Joplin! Thank heavens! No one’s ever been sad and played Ragtime.”

1 comment:

Karen said...

I sure hope Gracie takes the leap of faith ( and yes.. responsibility that is just sometimes annoying :-) and goes out and finds that Blossom.

And how awesome that she's picked up the piano again.