Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meme

Disease is a thief. And this one steals your mind. Steals your memories.

She was my grandmother with the eye for fashion, lips always perfectly tinted to match her outfit, and rows of high heeled shoes that fit my feet when I was just a girl because they were so tiny. She was the one who smelled like flowers and had every color of nail polish imaginable. She is the reason my mom puts lotion on her feet every night, wears a silky robe in the mornings and likes her coffee black with just a bit of sugar.

She is still beautiful and beautifully dressed. Her feet are still tiny and soft after years of nightime lotioning. Nail polish still abounds. She still smells like flowers. But now, she is confused. She isn't sure who that lady is painting her nails. She isn't sure why she's dressing up today and who all these people are coming in and out of her house. She isn't sure where home is. And the man who cares for her every minute of every day? Sometimes he seems familiar and she knows they love each other, and sometimes she's scared of him, scared he's gonna take her away, or leave her. And why does he seem so sad?

We sit around and whisper about how sad it is. Tears come easy and we can't help wondering what her last memory of each of us was. Or will be.

This Thanksgiving, I should have spent more time just loving her, instead of wishing it was different. More time praying for her peace. More time loving on my grandfather who shoulders the lion's share of the load and whose heart breaks at the loss of her memories. All those years they shared...gone. I should have spent more time listening to my mom and my aunts and letting them say what we all feel. That we are already missing her and she isn't even gone yet.

But today I choose to be thankful. I am thankful for Meme. That she was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class. That she ran off and married my Dada without permission. That she stood by him while he was away at war. That she raised three beautiful daughters and taught them a thing or two about mothering, hard work, sass, and shopping. That she knew how to put together a killer meal. That she welcomed each grandchild and great grandchild with great joy. And that she loved Jesus.

She may not remember any of those things today. But those of us who love her do. And we're grateful.

Linking up with Just Write today.

4 comments:

Allison said...

Thanks for sharing! Brian had told me that Meme was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but I didn't know it was that bad. It brings tears to my eyes. She is such an amazing woman!

The Wier Family said...

Well, I am sitting here with uncontrollable tears streaming down my eyes. This is beautifully written and soul-stirring. Thank you for sharing... What an inspirational, loving woman your Meme must be. Saying a prayer for you and your family.
~Lis Wier

Heather EO said...

It's so hard.
I love how you describe her. I think I would really like her.

My Grandma is gone after suffering this, so I know. It's a terrible way to lose someone, but I'm grateful too.

Happy Hutchins said...

Amanda,
This is so beautifully written and while I didn't know Meme the way you know Meme I can tell you she was so wonderful the time I spent with her on Thursday. She was telling me how much her and Dada loved each other and how they made it through the war. She is still remembering it just may be out of order from the original text. Hope to see you again soon.