67: Just Press Play

67: Just Press Play

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Just Press Play

Memory is a glorious grab bag of the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them.

~Hal Boyle

I awoke at 5:00 a.m. and instinctively turned on my phone to see the scroll of missed calls, messages, and texts. Sadly, I saw that my beloved ninety-two-year-old grandmother, Margaret Amelia Sullivan, had passed away. In her sleep, at home, in the still of the night, she had floated peacefully to heaven — the way we all wish to slip from this world into the next.

While my family and I were hunkered down in a puppy pile of tears, hugs, “I love yous,” and our favorite stories about Granny, my husband received a phone call from the owner of the recording/ production studio we’d been renting for the past five years saying that the studio had been sold. We had two days to move out. We had known we would soon be moving, but we thought we had months to do it gracefully and gradually. But now, the clock was ticking, and we had forty-eight hours to move our belongings.

The last place on earth I wanted to be was at our 24,000-square-foot studio on the other side of town, away from my family. My heart was so heavy with emotion that I was not in the mindset to sort out our mountains of business files and boxes.

With tears, sniffs, and a lot of pouting, I dutifully accompanied my husband to our studio.

As we were sorting, sandwiched between my teary thoughts of missing my grandma, I vaguely remembered dragging my husband, Dana, with me years before to visit my grandma to film her telling some of her stories. It was just after she’d suffered a broken hip, and I knew that her time on this earth with us was limited.

My husband turned on the camera, and Granny lit up like a Christmas tree, eyes sparkling and smile radiant. With her gray hair done in her classic style and wearing a lavender sweatshirt, she animatedly shared stories about sneaking out her bedroom window as a teenager to hop on a train to meet the man who would be my grandpa. She reminisced about raising five children alone while my grandpa was at war in the Navy, surviving fire, floods, storms, and keeping her highly energetic kids safe while having as much fun as possible.

I didn’t dare ask Dana where those tapes might be. I knew it would be met with a sigh and an eye roll at the impossibility of finding them. My husband is an incredibly talented music producer, videographer, and editor, among many other gifts. But one of his talents is not in the domain of organization. There were hundreds of boxes of MiniDV tapes he had filmed over the past seventeen years since we’d been together . . . all of which needed to be moved.

And because all my heart wanted to do was get back to my family, I was in the spirit of “let’s get rid of everything!”

Dana was contemplating agreeing with me about just torching the whole mess when, out of the blue, he stuck his hand into a random box. Like a grab bag, he pulled out two random tapes, and then he yelled across the cavernous studio, “Kelly, you’ll never guess the names of the two tapes I just found!”

I responded with a despondent blank stare and shrugged shoulders.

“Granny 1 and Granny 2!”

Those were the only two tapes he’d pulled out of boxes of hundreds!

New tears streamed from my eyes . . . tears of gratitude . . . tears of awe . . . tears that only take place when something truly miraculous and unexplainable happens.

If we didn’t have to move that weekend — the day after my grandma passed away — we never would have been at the studio sorting through boxes.

Of all the boxes of tapes, how was it possible that Dana was led to the exact box that contained those exact tapes?

Did my granny orchestrate this? Was it God? An angel?

Whoever or whatever it was, it felt like the reassurance that my family and I needed that Granny was well situated in heaven, and soon we would be at peace, too.

To add the icing on top of this unexplainable miracle, I found someone who had the rare technology to transfer nine-year-old tapes to a digital format just in time to share the video of my sparkling-eyed grandma at the reception after her funeral for my whole family to enjoy.

These tapes are treasures, soul gold that we are all so grateful to have . . . and all my family and extended family will always treasure.

Now, when I miss Granny and just want to see her again, to hear her voice and laughter, all I have to do is press Play.

~Kelly Sullivan Walden

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