Photo Essay

Unconditional, Faithful Provider

Blue Tree and Royal Danish

It may seem morbid or depressing to think of my "Nana's" remaining time, but lately it consumes me as she seems to become more withdrawn. Every now and then she gets a faraway look in her eyes and they mist over. Like when we reminisced on Easter as we ate using her wedding silver (she remembered without hesitating that it was "Royal Danish") and we drank our coffee from my great grandmother's Lenox china. Life goes by so fast.

This is the woman who taught me how to do a swan dive and a jackknife in her pool where we would spend all day. She taught me water ballet. She taught me Slapjack and Parcheesie and Crazy 8's. She read me "Uncle Remus" stories over and over and over - especially "Brer Rabbit" and "Brer Fox" in the good ol' briar patch. She taught me unconditional love. She taught me to respect myself and believe in the power of me. She taught me humor for myself. She taught me what it's like to have faith in a higher power, and to have faith in others. She taught me to look for the good in people. She taught me that I am loveable and capable just the way I am.

She and my late grandfather were rocks for my brother and I when my parents divorced. They provided structure and a sense of normalcy. They gave us fun, and laughter and support, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Pepsi. Together they were, and these last few years she alone has been, such an important part of my life.

Just a few years ago, I was home with my kids and she and my grandfather would drive here for the day during the summer. We'd eat outside, she would plant flowers and pull weeds in my garden and help with sewing and my grandfather would keep my children laughing. She was active and able to help out - which is what she loves to do - to feel needed. Now that she's alone and getting older and unable to get around like she used to, she feels like she's a burden because she can't help. I am working full time and just haven't had the time to spend with her that I used to. It seems now that she needs someone who can just sit with her, I am too busy. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not aware of that.

When I can be with her it's hard. Her eyesight has it's ups and downs and her hearing too. She struggles at times with her walker. Her hands shake and her voice shakes. Food doesn't taste as good as it used to. People move and talk too fast for her to keep up. My heart aches as I watch, unable to slow life down for her. But she doesn't give up. She loves her great-grandchildren and likes to watch them and listen to them, and especially, hug them. And, every now and then her sense of humor reappears. Like when I called her a couple of weeks ago and she asked what I was doing. I told her I was trying to pick up the house. She told me I shouldn't do that because I'll hurt my back. :)

And so, when I am with her, I can't help but wonder, how much time do we really have left together? It keeps me grounded and it keeps me focused on her for the short time we are able to visit. But it also makes me uneasy, because I know when she goes, a big part of how I arrived at me will be shaken,and my world just won't feel the same.

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2 responses

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (9 Dec 2008):

    Lovely story. The same way I feel about my M-I-L personal essay.

  • salsabil salsabil

    salsabil salsabil (Deleted) said (23 Feb 2010):

    You are a story teller how honestly and beautifully you can express your feeling ,and these feelings are very rare these days it is good luck for your grand mother to have you.

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