Lorraine’s Sunshine

  Photo courtesy of Kerri Liss

Photo courtesy of Kerri Liss

By Kerri Liss

You are my sunshine

Hi, pumpkin! You are so beautiful. You are the prettiest girl in that picture. Do you want to see a funny picture of when I was a cheerleader at St. Mary's? Oh those nuns were just awful! They used to make girls sit in the boys’ room if you did anything wrong. I used to walk to school every day up Mount Vernon Street, you know Mount Vernon Street, with the big hill? I'd walk up every day with my curlers in my hair bouncing up and down, up and down, and then I'd go straight to the locker room and set my hair with the pins and everyone used to say, “Oh Lorraine! You have beautiful hair.” Really they did! You wouldn't believe it now. Jeez, I'm lucky if I can even get a clump big enough to put one pin on my head! You must take after me, beautiful.

My only sunshine

You see we were poor growing up and we just didn't have what you people have. You don't know how lucky you are.

You make me happy

Remember that time that you fell down in the snow when you were hiding the Easter eggs in the backyard? Ha, we'll never forget it. I remember you looked back laughing at yourself and it was beautiful. You kind of gave away the hiding place though, Gram. Or what about those times I would dress up in your fur coat and heels, or better yet, dress the boys up in your coats and dresses! We laughed so hard. I know you thought I was so clever. I was though! On Saturday nights when you all were watching television in the den, I was busy at your round kitchen table memorizing the alphabet backwards just for fun. Then you would brag to everyone how smart I was. We'd soon end up getting everyone involved and then busting out Connect Four. You loved games and loved to have fun. Almost as much as you loved me. And shopping.

When skies are grey

That night we got the call. I just knew things weren't good. What do you mean she gave it all away? Well, how much? All of it? Well isn't there anything you can do?

You'll never know, Dear

I never saw the way he looked at you, but I know he loved you and I know you loved his blue eyes. I didn't know him, but you told me he was the sweetest, most kind man. He would work all day and then study his engineering at night in the den. And he would drive to Boston every day! He would leave at four in the morning! He was a great man. I sometimes wish now that we could have talked more about him. I think we would have gotten along really well. I can't wait to meet him.

How much I love you

Hi, princess! Do you know how much I love you? Grammy loves you so much! And don't you ever forget it! I know everything you did, every worry you had, every thought, idea, phone call, and intention was only for love of us. I love you too. I think you're marvelous and I think you did your very best. You were a strong woman and I wish you didn't try to convince yourself so.

Please don't take

It was hard to see you leave your house of 50 years. Though I couldn't wait to take that wallpaper down. It was hard to hear you say that you didn't think we cared for you. It was hard to hear you talk like that. But the hardest was when you forgot. The day you didn't know who I was. Your best friend. Or when you couldn't be at my graduation. Not because you didn't want to. Just because you couldn't and it isn't your fault. I wanted you to meet my kids someday and you would love them even more than you loved me! Can you believe it? And you would be proud of me, of course, you were always proud of me. And maybe, just maybe, you would be proud of yourself for being a single mother for many of your parenting years. You raised a good man, the first man I ever loved and ever will love.


You showered us with gifts every December. You didn't just give us what we wanted, you gave us more. You showed me how great His gifts are and will be. You showed me a glimpse of heaven with every Christmas. I know it isn't about the gifts they say, but it actually was. Because you were there and you are a gift to me. And then we would wake up and have a birthday breakfast just to do it all over again! Your love was as close to infinite as humanly possible.


I knew it was about to happen, I could hear it in mother's voice. That's why I drove up that night to see you. Can I just have a few minutes with her? Hail Mary. When I looked at you, you seemed so peaceful and I remembered our song. Do I see a smile? Can you hear me? I only hear my voice this time. It's nothing like that voice of yours.


Hand squeeze.



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