grandparents were married for over half a century, and
played their own special game from the time they had met
each other. The goal of their game was to write the word
"shmily" in a surprise place for the other to find. They
took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon
as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide
it once more.
dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and
flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next
meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows
overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us
warm, homemade pudding with blue food
was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot
shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one
point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of
toilet paper to leave "shmily" on the very last
was no end to the places "shmily" would pop up. Little
notes with "shmily" scribbled hurriedly were found on
dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering
notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows.
"SHMILY" was written in the dust upon the mantel and
traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious
word was as much a part of my grandparents' house as the
took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate
my grandparents' game. Skepticism has kept me from
believing in true love-one that is pure and enduring.
However, I never doubted my grandparents' relationship.
They had love down pat.
was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a
way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion
and passionate affection, which not everyone is lucky to
and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They
stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny
kitchen. They finished each other's sentences and shared
the daily crossword and word jumble. My grandma whispered
to me about how cute my grandpa was how handsome and old
he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew "how
to pick 'em". Before every meal they bowed their heads
and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a
wonderful family, good fortune, and each
there was a dark cloud in my grandparents' life: my
grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first
appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with
her every step of the way. He comforted her in their
yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be
surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go
the cancer was again attacking her body.
the help of a cane and my grandfather's steady hand, they
went to church every morning. But my grandmother grew
steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the
house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church
alone, praying to GOD to watch over his wife. Then one
day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was
It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my
grandmother's funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and
the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles,
cousins and other family members came forward and
gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up
to my grandmother's casket and taking a shaky breath, he
began to sing to her.
his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty
with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. For
I knew that, although I couldn't begin to fathom the
depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its
See How Much I Love You.
is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
Then in my hands they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?