A Gift in the Gym Locker Room
On Saturday, I completed the balance of my shoulder tattoos. On my right shoulder, I have a morning glory for my paternal grandmother and now on my right shoulder, I have a daisy for my maternal grandmother. Both women meant the world to me and inspired me to be the person I am today. They were both humble, hard working, and hilarious. They guided me through life and they continue to do so in their absence. Having them both on my shoulders is a little reminder for me to forge ahead.
Every Monday, I head to the gym for a long workout. If I'm being honest, I mainly go so I can sit in the sauna after my workout. This morning, after my 10 minutes of scorching nirvana, I headed back to my locker to get my shower stuff. An older woman stopped me and said, "Oh my goodness, your tattoos are so beautiful." I thanked her and she continued, "I made a promise to myself when I made it to 80, I'd get a tattoo." I smiled and answered the usual questions I get from people about the pain and the stories of my tattoos. She then hugged me (usually the stories attached to my tattoos evoke emotion from people) and touched my new daisy. "Y'know what, this one is my favorite. I've always loved daisies." I replied and told her it was my grandmother's favorite flower as well. She asked my name and introduced herself. Her name was Christine and I could not help but tear up.
My maternal grandmother, the inspiration for this tattoo, was named Christine. Goosebumps ran up my spine and the woman grabbed my hand. "See, honey. Who knew when we both got up this morning that we'd get a little gift of shared love in the locker room. In the two minutes I've known you, I know your grandmother could not be more proud of the woman you are." She hugged me and walked away. I quietly sobbed as I showered because it just reminded me that grief is not something that has an end point. There are days it lies dormant, other days it is unavoidable. For me, though, what consoles me, is although the person is physically gone, there are little ways I know their love still lies within me. Like running into this woman today at the gym. Yes, it could have been a coincidence, but I know in my heart it wasn't.