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When you put something out into the world, you never know what you are going to get back in return. The world may give you back what you have given, like a boomerang, or it may give you back parts of your heart, or things you never imagined.

I have been blogging for less than four months. Most mornings when I type up my words, I don’t know how they will be received. When I press the send key, I am never sure what will come back to me.

My grandmother on my father’s side (Opal) died before I was born. She is the one person in my life that I miss without ever having met her. She left a hole in my childhood. She died suddenly when my dad was a teenager, and my dad never adjusted to her passing. For some reason, my dad rarely spoke about her, and didn’t pass on the stories of her life. My maternal grandmother was friends with her and most of the things I know about her, I learned from my mom’s mom.

Of course over the years, I have held on to the bits and pieces of things I have learned about her, smoking cigarettes, playing cards, and working as a mail carrier.  I can see a photograph of her in a mid-length white dress, dark hair, walking up the steps to the house my dad lived in as a boy. She is looking at the camera, and I get the sense that she loves the person who is taking the picture. She has a slight smile and her eyes look happy. Her hair is tied back but strands of it are loose and being carried up by the wind.

I love my grandmother, as much as you can love someone that you have never met. In my mind, she would have understood and loved me too. I believe as her youngest grandchild I would have held a special place in her heart. I hold on to that belief. I carry it tucked deeply in my heart.

Yesterday I received a call from my cousin, my grandmother Opal’s oldest grandchild. I haven’t spoken to my cousin in over ten years. My cousin is an artist and writer and reads my blog every day. She is also an advocate for the mentally ill, because her daughter, like me, has schizophrenia.

My cousin remembers my grandma, Opal. Besides my dad she is my one connection to the grandmother I have always dreamed about.  She spent the first five or six years of her life around our grandmother.

My cousin is open and funny, and loving, and is generous with her stories about our family. She is the keeper of the secrets that my dad never shared, that I so desired.

I have put so much of myself into my blog, and the universe has responded to me. I have my oldest cousin with whom I can tell everything I know about living with schizophrenia which gives her a window into her daughter, and she can welcome me into the world of my grandmother – a world I have longed to inhabit.

There are so many gifts to give and receive.  My heart and arms are wide open. I will continue to put myself out there, and see what the universe brings.