Light through the Birches
by Martha Hubbard
My Finnish grandmother died suddenly just before my 16th birthday. I went to live with my Aunt Irena and Uncle Bill. I hated living in his house and him. There were times when I believed I couldn’t go on – that the only solution was an overdose of aspirin – how many do you need to actually kill and not make yourself sick?
It was then that Grammy began to appear in my dreams. Usually we met in the little red house we had shared. We drank coffee at the table that had heard so many stories, while she advised me how to get through the latest trial that was messing up my life.
Our discussions carried on irregularly long after I had escaped Bill by marrying a decent if perplexed man and moving to New York City. However, even relatively good marriages come to an end. When I was trying to decide whether to leave New York, my friends, such family as I had and move to Europe, Grammy paid a visit.
Taking my hand, we walked through a serene grove of white birch somewhere in Finland. As the sun cut ribbons of blue through golden leaves, she said that this was her last visit – her work on earth was done.
“No,” I protested. “I need you.”
“Not anymore. You will be fine. Look around. This is your inheritance and your future. One day you will find this grove of light and know I spoke the truth.”