Monday, September 07, 2009
I can remember
Today, my grandmother died. She was my last living grandparent, but she hasn't known me for a year or better. She hasn't known my father, my uncle, or any of our other family members. But she knew my Papa John. She remembered that he was dead. That's what she remembered.
And now I remember her. I couldn't bear to visit after the last time when she couldn't remember me or my parents. She wasn't my Grandma anymore. I think I should feel terrible that she died without my saying goodbye to her, but I don't. I think that would be selfish. Good byes are for the living. The dead aren't leaving you forever, you just can't see them anymore, but they're still by your side. I'm not sad she died either. She was in pain and her quality of life had flatlined long ago. She had to be taken from her home shortly after she lost her husband and put in the one place she never wanted to be, a nursing home. But we had no choice at that point, it was too dangerous to leave her alone.
All that aside though, I remember her tonight. The woman she was to me, and the woman I will carry with me until I die. My grandma gave me many gifts over the years. I was her number one granddaughter. But the one gift she gave me that I cherish most is the gift of crochet. She pulled me into her tiny lap, into that awful orange striped recliner chair, and she taught me the basic stitches while my hands were still smaller than hers. She taught me to move the needle and to wrap the yarn so that it wouldn't slip from my fingers, and I still wrap it like she did even though I have all five of my fingers on my hand where she had only four. I can make all of the stitches she taught me still. My hands can remember her.
Memory loss is a thief in my family. It has stolen from us all, on both sides of the tree. I sit at the bottom, waiting for my turn to be taken. When I forget where my keys are, it bothers me a little that the thief is in my house already, so early. I should have years before I have to bar the door with a chair or a well placed nail. Even so, I hope that I will always remember her, and those like her who have made me the woman I am today. But I know that these are just dreams, and that my thief will one day come for what's his. The things I hope I hide from him are in my hands tonight...those things these people taught me. I hope I never forget to hold my yarn and needle the way Grandma did. I hope I never forget to core a navel orange and squeeze for the juice like Papa John. I hope I never forget how to bait a hook like my Daddy. I hope I never forget what goes into my Mama's biscuits.
At the end of it all, I hope.
Posted by Lacey at 7:27 PM