My grandmother Constance watches me.
Part of the great cloud of witnesses
she takes tea with Florence Nightingale and Madame Curie
on her terrace in heaven.
She nursed me through all my childhood illnesses,
my parents time tied with their own patients.
Glorious seasons of undivided attention
and chicken soup flavored love.
I lay in state in her downstairs bedroom
her ear attentive to my smallest wish.
Illness became blessing
and I reveled in it,
reluctant to return to health and school
where harsher voices undermined my spirit.
She smelt of Lily of the Valley
and her heavily powdered cheek
would brush mine
with complete acceptance.
Her death bruised much deeper than I expected
then ripples of grief
journeyed with me.
More than anyone else in my childhood life she showed me God
and grace poured on pain.