Grandmother often sat in her chair with her little book. Inside the book was a withered flower. If a person knew, they would know that the flower had not always been withered. Grandmother had been young, beautiful and smiling. She smiled at a handsome young man, who was gone now. Each time she looked at the flower, she remembered.
Grandmother died. She had been telling the grandchildren a long story, but she said she was tired. She leaned back and went to sleep. Her breath was slower, and slower until the grownups finally said that grandmother was dead. The children were not afraid to look upon her dead body.
Grandmother was buried with her little book. Roses grew over her grave. Even when grandmother and the book were dust, the roses bloomed beautiful still. Grandmother’s eyes never got old. The children will one day see grandmother as young and as beautiful as her eyes had seemed.
Not everyone believes that a person will be restored to their perfect self in the afterlife. That was something Hans believed, or he thought it would be nice to put in this story. The children believe that someday they will be reunited with her grandmother and she won’t be old and wrinkled. She’ll be young and beautiful like she was when she acquired the rose.
It is a belief in some Christian religions that you will die, you will go to heaven, but someday, you will be resurrected and you’ll be your perfect self. You’ll be young-ish. You’ll be fit. You will not have the worries of age. This isn’t a belief that everyone holds. I find it interesting that Hans put it in the story.
There are parts of you that never grow old. We’re talking about intangible parts, of course. Skin grows old. Hair grows old. Bodies and bones grow old, but memories may never grow old. The grandmother remembers the young time in her life with fondness because that’s when she met her man, whoever he happened to be. Notice the story doesn’t say it was grandfather, maybe it was someone else. It was a memory that stuck with grandmother all her long years. Memories can do that. They can stay. Remembering the good times in life can keep us young at heart.
I’m glad grandmother is getting some peace and rest.
Do you suppose the man in the flashback was grandfather or someone else?
Do you believe these children really respected their grandmother?