My Grandmother passed away on May 11, the day after Mother's Day. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease for the past six years.
This week my sister and I were re-counting our special childhood memories with our Grandmother. Little things- like Peek Freane fruit cremes, sweet peas, butterfies and afternoon tea with Petit Point china- really remind us of her.
Growing up, we spent a lot of time at their house. Some of our best memories were spent in her office, typing away on her typewriter, or harvesting a 200 pound pumpkin in the garden, or having Grandma tell us a magical story and rubbing our backs as we fell asleep.
Even as an adult I spent many weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's. Grandpa would turn in early and Grandma and I would stay up to play Scrabble. But that was just a guise. She really wanted to have girl talk. She would casually ask me if there was anyone special in my life, and then she would turn serious, put her hand over mine, and say that she was praying every single day that I would meet a nice, Christian boy.
My sister and I always knew and felt that we were in her prayers.
The last few years have been hard on all of us. We watched as Grandma first became confused and then in her dimentia, forgot who we were. But throughout it all- the change, the confusion- she always had a positive outlook on life. She was always kind and talked about her love for Jesus. Apparently, if she ever got the care home staff alone she would ask them if they had a friend in Jesus.
A few years ago, my Grandma's prayers were answered when I married my husband. Grandma wasn't able to attend the ceremony as she was in bad health at the time. When we were newly married we went to visit Grandma at her care home. She was anxious to know all about the man I was with, and anxious to know where we were staying. Grandma looked at me and with a little wink said, "Hmmm... how shall I put this? One bed or two?"
My Grandfather has visited my Grandmother in her care home twice a day for the six years she resided there. He would go every afternoon and evening. He would tuck her in, give her a kiss and return to "their" home. He was grateful to spend time with the one he loved.
And even in her dimentia, when all else was lost, she never forgot him. She knew him and loved him and longed to be with him. If he wasn't able to make it one afternoon, Grandma would be asking around to the care home staff.
The love Grandma and Grandpa shared was so evident. Their relationship and devotion to one another is inspirational and show what real love is all about.
My Grandmother was a loving, joyful woman with a big heart for others. It must be true: when you are truly loved, you can truly love.