Wednesday, July 22, 2009

 {Grandma}

I know that seasons must come and go. I know that change befalls every one and every thing and that time stops for no one.
But my young heart never embraced that reality as I watched her work as hard as any woman I knew - maybe harder. She had a spunk that could get her in or out of plenty of messes in life. Her independence gave her a very resolute look. And yet there was a softness too. I remember it all. But memories are the only way I can appreciate those qualities in her now. I remember spending weekends at the log cabin with her and Grandpa. Sometimes I will smell walnuts, or honey, or smoke from a wood stove and I am there again... The walnuts were always on a thin tin pan on top of the wood stove. Drying out after grandpa would crack the shells with his hammer and dig out the goodies. The honey was from their bees - several stacks of white bee houses in their back yard. It was fascinating to watch them go through the process of caring for the bees and extracting the honey. Oatmeal for breakfast with raisin toast. Vanilla ice cream in a cone before bed. We all have those kinds of memories from our childhood. Memories of those who have spent time with us and impacted us. Things that changed our perspective and taught us the value of work. She wouldn't remember any of what I remember now. And I wish she could. I wish I could sit with her and we could smile about the way we would work in her garden together. Or laugh at how I was introduced to Oprah at her house. She had to watch her "shows" you know. But we won't and we can't. I can smile at her. I can hold her trembling hand. I always remember her age because I was born in the same month as she. Only 60 years apart. That means she is now 88. For some reason when I moved away from my family I had a strange, albeit subconscious, expectation that things would not change "back home". -That I would visit the same place and the same people year after year. So not the case. We go back to visit now and the landscape has changed. Stores are bigger, some towns have expanded, some have been nearly wiped off the map. It feels strange. Almost foreign now. It's been 8 years. And she - well, she is smaller. So much more frail. The forgetfulness she was demonstrating a few years ago has turned to an almost emptiness. When I saw her a couple of weeks ago I saw her long beautiful white hair and her tentative smile, but soon my eyes focused on her hands. They wouldn't stop trembling. They looked so small and pale. I thought of every thing those hands had done - and I smiled. Her life was not sheltered from hurt. Those hands have known very hard work. Her heart has been broken more than once. But so much good has come form her life. I doubt she will ever again be able to look me in the eye and know who I am. But you know what? As much as it tears at my heart, it doesn't really matter. Because I have treasured memories to hold on to forever. Nothing can take that away. As long as God sees fit to leave her here with us we will smile and hold her hand. We will lower our expectations and just love her. I will remember her from my childhood when she used to travel all over and always make sure her hair was looking fashionable. I will remember when she met my K and fell immediately in love with him And I will remember her as she is now; grasping at the elusive threads in her mind which would help her to recall who we all are, what we are doing, who she is, what is expected of her. This is our reality now. And we will just love her.

9 comments:

Stacey said...

So different to hear some of the same memories through your eyes instead of mine...

Love your pictures and stories of grandma.

Mama Belle said...

Great tribute to her!

Leslie said...

you totally made me cry...
there are those people those special people in our lives...

and its hard for them not to be the same. So hard.

Anne Elizabeth said...

This was a wonderful tribute and totally made me cry. Your grandma sounds like an amazing woman.

Lois Lane II said...

Beautiful. Reminds me of my husband's grandmother, Mimi. She's so amazing, but her mind is going...it's so sad.

What a wonderful granddaughter you are to her, and what a joy it is to have those memories and pictures of her holding your babies.

I love this song, btw.

Beth in NC said...

Ok, a good cry right before my husband comes home. God bless your sweet Grandmother. One of my Grandmother's suffered from Alzheimer's disease. It was painful to be a stranger.

What a sweet tribute.

Arlona Mc said...

Thanks for writing about your grandma. I am so glad that you have so many special memories. Glad you got to hold her hand when you were there. Your family is precious, but always changing even though we think they should be like they were when we last saw them.

"Rachel" said...

Oh, this post broke my heart. My own grandmother has Alzheimer's & dementia and everything about her has changed. I wish she could remember. It's heartbreaking. It's also why it's so important we record the memories with those most important to us, so those memories don't disappear along with the mind, and who they truly are will always be preserved.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

There is so much sweetness here - what a beautiful woman she is! Aren't you so glad that God gives us incredible memories to hold on to, even when things change?