I read This post from Lori last week, and have been thinking of my grandmother Mary a lot since.
Grandma Mary died on August 11, 2003 at the age of 93. During the last years of her life she was unable to care for herself. While fairly able of body, her mind was fading. She remembered less and less over those last few years, and this was at first a very difficult thing. Grandma was frustrated, angry, very aware that she was forgetting, that she was no long in control of her own thoughts, her own home.
I had the honor, and sometimes the struggle, of sharing in her care during the last years of her life. For 3 years every week I spent the night and all the next day with her.
It was hardest during the early years, when she knew she couldn't remember and was sometimes so angry and bitter. This gave way to a more lost feeling and ultimately to a peaceful sweet place, where she knew us less, and yet somehow more.
It was during one of those times that I came to be with her, this time just stopping in to visit briefly. I was going through a pretty difficult time. Patrick had injured himself twice in the span of 4 months, and was on disability and trying to recover and finish renovating our house simultaneously. We were preparing it to rent, with the plan to move east. I, meanwhile, was working 3 part time jobs...massage on-call for the Hyatt and 2 catering jobs, and trying to help some with the work on the house too.
I was especially tired that day, and feeling like I just couldn't keep pushing through. I sat down next to grandma and held her hand, and we sat quietly that way for awhile. And then she turned to me and said "I wish I could help you. But everything is going to be okay for you, everything is going to be okay."
This was one of most lucid things she had said to me in ages, and so utterly in tune with where I was at, despite her lack of knowledge of my circumstances.
It is a memory I hold onto when I feel lost, overwhelmed, and that wisdom is far from me. It reminds me that true wisdom comes from quiet places beyond thinking, where the heart knows more.
I have so many memories of Grandma Mary, some of them funny, some of them tough, but this is the one I hold dearest to my heart, the most precious gift she gave me aside from my mother.