12. Someone I Miss

We met when I was 3. I immediately became attached to her. She had caring eyes and soft hands. Her gray hair laid in short curls on her head. The wrinkles in her face showed years of happiness and struggle. She wore a warm smile on thin lips that I rarely saw her without.
If I close my eyes I can still feel her arms around me and see her eyes expressing her love for me. It’s hard to put into words the emotions that stir inside me when I think of her. Even after 10 years I still have to push back tears.
Mrs. Wassenger was the preschool class Sunday school teacher when we started attending our new church. We developed a special bond instantly. Each time I graduated to a new level and a had classroom she would follow me. I didn’t fully realize this until I was moving into the teen group and this was as far as she could go. She stopped being a Sunday school teacher. She watched me grow and became my non-biological grandmother. I’ve never had a close relationship with my grandmothers, she took their place. She was going to be there for me no matter what. She was going to be the constant, my advisor, my safe place.
I still remember the day I got the call. I was working in our attic, going through some old boxes. My sister called up and gave me the phone. Another Sunday school teacher was on the line, she wanted to make sure I heard from her and not from another source.
Mrs. Wassenger’s husband had died a few months before. Her health had been declining. She had been in the hospital and I hadn’t found a ride yet. My parents were too busy working, my siblings doing whatever it was they did. Life gets in the way sometimes. I set the phone on the counter and went into the basement, to our dark family room where no one ever bothered me.
I can still see her smile. I can still hear her shaky voice and feel her frail hands in mine, feel her feeble body wrapped in my arms. What I wouldn’t give to be able to spend just one more hour with her.


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