Tuesday, December 30, 2008

why say good bye, say hello

We stopped in to see my grandma today. This was probably my chance to say good-bye. Who knows. She may strengthen. Parts of her memory may return. Eating may come easier for her. Her body may just feel the love and support rallying behind her. But we live so very far away. I want to take the opportunities, to make the opportunities I can.

I went in knowing she would not recognize me. I just wanted to make her smile. I wanted to say "hello", "I love you," and maybe have a moment of connection. Mission accomplished.

She seemed surprised to see us, but smiled as soon as I told her how beautiful she looked and asked what her secret was. Would she share it with me? Nope, then everyone would be the same and life would not be interesting. She took my hand. But my hands were cold. She wanted to see my children. I lifted each of them up. No names. Just lots of smiles. Numerous "I love you"s. She reached out to "take" each of their noses. Sarah climbed into her bed to read her a story. Grandma read the title, Only the Cat Saw. (I want to keep that book for always now.) She loved the illustrations. At the end, the cat is asleep. Grandma said she was tired. She had just received a breathing treatment before we arrived and the medications make you drowsy. She slept. We left.

Relatives live a matter of minutes away, so we went to visit. Jesse stayed there with the kids and let me go back to have more time with Grandma. This time I held her hand through a sheet. I didn't want to disturb her with my temperature. There was no chair. I sat on the floor beside her bed. We watched TV, or I lay my head down and prayed silently. We were present with each other. She laughed at an orange monster in a commercial. I laughed too. When we saw an add for skiing and tubing, I asked if she preferred the snow or the sand dunes. I hoped to spark a memory, since the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes were her favorite vacation spot. She replied that they both had their good qualities. You couldn't really compare one to the other; showing the rational Grandma I remember rather than the recollection. I had to leave. She asked where I live. When she heard we're near the ocean now, she said she wants to come visit some day. I said we'd put her feet in the waves. Someday...

I came to say my "good byes." Grandma kept showing me "hello". So much "I love you."

1 comment:

Jen said...

Oh, that's beautiful. :) I'm so happy you had such wonderful moments, and that your little ones will remember her (at least the oldest).