You Mean More to Me
Jeremy hadn’t seen his grandmother for several years. They’d had a very nice relationship, but he and his folks moved away when he was only nine years old. Grammy didn’t drive anymore, and it seemed like they couldn’t go to see her, either.
Jeremy never believed his parents when they gave excuses not to go visit Grammy. Now at age 18, he thought about her as he made preparations to graduate from high school.
On a Saturday in the spring of his senior year, Jeremy drove three hours to see Grammy. His hopes were high as the miles slipped past him. He even broke the speed limit, so much like the speed of sound.
Jeremy knocked on the heavy red door of her house. No one answered, and he grew alarmed.
Grammy’s next-door neighbor walked to the car parked on her driveway. She looked over to where Jeremy stood on Grammy’s front porch.
“She’s in the hospital,” the neighbor called out. Then she walked over to Jeremy.
“My name is Marie. I’m going there now to see her. Want to come along?”
Jeremy, flabbergasted speechless, nodded.
As they rode the elevator, Marie spoke again.
“Let me just run in and say hello, then when it’s your turn you won’t have to rush. And just to let you know—I’m sorry, son—your grandma is in a coma. Watch what you say, though. I’ve heard it said people in a coma can still hear you.”
Jeremy collapsed onto a waiting room chair. He bent his long frame over his knees, and he pulled his hands through his long, dark hair. How could this have happened? Was this a punishment to Jeremy and his family for not visiting her?
“Okay, you can go in now,” Marie said when she returned to the waiting room. “I’ll be right here. Stay as long as you like. You know … she talked about you all the time. She loved you so much, Jeremy, is it?”
Jeremy nodded. It took great effort on his part to be able to say anything. But he finally spoke.
“She was great,” Jeremy said. “I remember one year I begged for a horse. I kinda knew I wouldn’t get one, but I didn’t let up on her or Mom or Dad.”
“What happened?” Marie said.
“Grammy took me to a horse farm, and the farmer rode horses with me all afternoon. That was just like her—I think she made it her goal to help people as much as she could.”
Marie agreed with a nod. “I know you’re right. What an angel we have down there in Room 213.”
Jeremy rose to his feet, all six foot five inches of him. He started to walk away from Marie, but he hugged her instead. “Thank you.”
Once in Grammy’s room, Jeremy teared up. He cleared his throat. At Grammy’s bedside, Jeremy picked up her hand through the bedrail and sat down on the chair.
“Grammy. I love you. I never got to thank you for loving me and never giving up on me. Sorry it took so long for me to come see you.”
Their hands still clasped together, Jeremy breathed in the comfort Grammy gave even through a coma.
A long time passed, and Jeremy told himself it was time he packed it in. He readied himself to say goodbye when all of a sudden, Grammy squeezed the dickens out of his hand.
“Grammy! You woke up!” Jeremy said and quickly rang for the nurse.
“Of course! Couldn’t let you be sad. We have a lot of living left to do,” she said, and now her eyes filled with tears. After a doctor and nurse took vitals and gave her a quick exam in the bed, they resumed their conversation.
Grammy’s eyes examined Jeremy, and she smiled. “I knew your hair was long.”
“How did ya know that?” Jeremy said, amazed.
“I had a dream where a young man with long hair thanked me for who knows what. And somewhere deep inside, I knew I had to open my eyes and see if you were there. And you were!”
Jeremy jumped to his feet and held his grandma carefully. When he sat down, he said, “Wow. You even dreamed about my long hair. You know, don’t you, that Mom and Dad hate it?”
“I’m sure they do. In some ways, I think they’re more old-fashioned than me. Tell me, Jeremy, do you keep your hair long to rebel against something?”
Grammy always cut to the chase. She also could assess any situation correctly.
“I guess I do. Probably because I hated never being able to see you. So now I have a driver’s license, and I couldn’t stay away any more.”
“Thanks, honey, for coming to see me today. Hey, I wanted to reminisce a little. Do you remember when you were a little boy and your mom and dad and I took you to get your photo taken? You were dressed in a little suit and looked so scared.”
“I don’t recall that, Grammy,” Jeremy said.
“It was the cutest thing. While your parents were arguing and the photographer was setting you up for your picture, I wrote a note to you and stuck it in a book that was lying around. I handed it to the guy and said maybe you needed a prop. Then, he snapped your picture after you read my note.”
“I guess the note was what I needed. What did it say?”
“’I love you, kiddo. You mean more to me than anything.’”
“Grammy to the rescue, I always said,” the humble young man said to his grandma.
Grammy and Jeremy reminisced for quite a while, and when Grammy promised she would come to his high school graduation, Jeremy left with Marie.
“Sit on that step,” Grammy commanded Jeremy at the high school on graduation night.
Grammy snapped his picture. She was so proud of him, and he always had a smile for her.
Grammy even came to Jeremy’s open house a few weeks later. She marveled at the cake Jeremy’s mom had made for the occasion.
“Your mom even put sprigs of statice on the plate. How beautiful!” Grammy said.
“I had to,” Jeremy’s mom, who overheard, said. “You mean more to me…”
“Than anything,” Jeremy added. “You mean more to me than anything, Grammy.”
“I second the notion,” Jeremy’s mom said.
“As do I, Mom,” Jeremy’s dad said.
“Hallelujah. Our family is reunited. And here’s to Jeremy!” Grammy said.
“No, Grammy. Here’s to us,” Jeremy said.