Monday, April 13, 2015

perfectly imperfect...

when i saw this 
precious photograph of charly's 
 grandmother's tiny, imperfect 
in hers,
i smiled.
i knew a little of this
most perfect gift 
she was holding...


my parents divorced 
in the spring
before my freshman year.
mom wanted to lease a condo 
on the river, 
but the new complex was full.
so, she put her name on a waiting list 
and began looking for a place 
for us to live.
her company's physician 
heard she was looking and 
offered to let her rent 
a house he owned 
on hi-y drive.

when i heard, 
i was thrilled...
as i was friends with wendy,
who lived right next-door
to the house.
we moved in the week 
before school was to start.
always thoughtful and kind, 
wendy offered to let me 
ride to school with her.
i was thrilled...
as i hadn't ridden a school bus 
since second grade 
and was nervous 
about having to do so.

"are you sure your mom 
won't mind?" i asked.
"not at all," wendy assured.

so, for the next three months,
every morning,
mrs. monsen took us to school
at the bakery or hardees 
making sure 
we had breakfast. 

every morning 
for those three months
 i sat 
in the back passenger seat, 
talking to 
and laughing with wendy
and her mom... 
all the while
 secretly, in awe
paying close attention
to mrs. monsen's hands
as she drove us.

i remember the first time
i noticed something different
about her hands...
it was the morning 
of our first day of school.
mrs. monsen started her car.
on the radio,  
kenny rogers' and dolly pardon's
"islands in the stream" 
was playing.
wendy asked her mom 
to turn up the volume.
it was
when she did so,
i noticed
arthritis had attacked 
and mangled her hands.
they were so tiny and so deformed.
i didn't know how she was able 
to do anything with them.

however, she did.
over time i learned 
she continued to do it all;
and, yes, drove her car... 
like there was nothing wrong
at all.



one of the condominiums
came available
in november of that year.
before we moved,
i wanted to do something 
special for dear mrs. monsen.

(she probably didn't realize it,
but she had made 
my transitioning
after my parents' divorce
so much easier. 
she had been such a blessing
to me.)

so, mom and i went 
to o'daniel's flower shop,
which was completely stocked
for the holidays.
after looking at most everything
in the shop,
i picked out
what i thought was
the perfect  
Christmas candle arrangement
and asked them to deliver it 
to mrs. monsen  
to thank her,
for her kindness.

she loved it...
i loved that she loved it!


that was the last, real
contact i had with
mrs. monsen-
until memorial weekend
last year
i learned from wendy
her dad had died
my first thoughts 
turned to dear mrs. monsen. 
having kept in contact 
with wendy,
i knew time and disease
had continued 
to take 
their toll on her mom;
i knew her dad
was her mom's caregiver,
her rock...


i made sure to go
 to mr. monsen's funeral
to pay my respects
offer my condolences,
 love, and support
to wendy and her family.
when the service ended,
i made my way 
to the front of the sanctuary 
to speak to the family.

mrs. monsen was sitting 
in her wheelchair.
so, i knelt in front of her.
taking one of her 
fragile hands in mine
and began to introduce myself to her... 

me: hello, mrs. monsen.
i don't know if you remember me 
or not.
i'm dani dr..
mrs. monsen: dani! 
of course i remember you.

mrs. monsen began to tell 
me she was so happy to see me, 
she told me the importance 
of old friends, 
she thanked me for coming.

when i looked back down,
i noticed i was no longer 
holding her hand.
she was holding mine 
with both of hers.

her hold was one of the softest, 
kindest, most loving,
i had ever known. 
i realized 
she was the one comforting

it was sweet. 
it was simple.
it was a gift.

in that moment 
i was receiving another 
from this great lady. 

had there not been 
a line of people behind me,
i could have sat there with her 
all afternoon...

my hand in her 
perfectly imperfect hands.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx