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Monday, 12 May 2008

A Day on the Beach for Dancing with Poseidon

By Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles

Dear Grandmother,

While I know that your eyes cannot see this, nor the words comprehensible, I wanted to write a letter to you today.

Do you know that you have seen ninety-two summers come and go? And, do you know that you now have three great great grandsons? I still keep the picture of our five-generational photo taken a few short years ago when your first-born son, my dad, was still alive. The five-by-seven frame is nestled among many others sharing a middle shelf, but its importance in our family history is never lessened.

Remember?

The photographer sat you in the center of the picture holding Connor, your first great great grandson. Sadly, you had already buried two husbands and one son, and would soon bury another son before finally retreating away to a place where life's events matter little. It is odd, too, to see myself as a grandmother - a feeling I haven't quite come to terms with.

The decision to place you in an "old folks’ home" was not an easy one for your daughter, but there was no way to provide you with daily care - I hope you understand. My visits are few and short-stayed, but thoughts of you unexpectedly interrupt my usual routines. Soft, furry stuffed animals keep you company in my stead, ever faithfully by your side. They give me reproachful looks when I enter your room on those occasional days, and I hear their whispers about duty and granddaughters who forget.

Did you know that I wear your wedding ring now? Your hands grew too gnarled with arthritis, and the nurses said you shouldn't wear it any longer. The simple white gold band with the two rows of tiny diamonds is out of style and scratched with years of wear. It will be passed down to one of your great granddaughters, who will in their turn, love the memory it holds of you.

If I could have one wish for you, it would not be the selfish one. Not a wish to bring you back to this present time for me, but a hope that you live now within warm good memories.

Remember how you loved the salty, white-capped gulf waters?

When we spent a week in Galveston floating on bright orange rubber rafts, tenuously perched upon them with our bodies and catching the waves together? We laughed and giggled and grew very amazed and a little scared when our return to the sandy beach found us miles from the rest of the family and the car.

This fortuitous playtime was a revelation for me; suddenly I could see beyond the years of the grandmotherly matron I knew. That day in the sparkling surf, I played with the young girl you once were. She was fun, adventurous and full of mischief. No stern lectures about how the sun will ruin your skin, no crabby face at the suggestion of bare feet, instead you threw off the dusty mantle of age and danced with Poseidon that day. It is a memory I keep and cherish, more than any other of you.

Since that summer day long ago, I could always find the Wave Dancer Girl if I looked carefully enough. I grew to appreciate your humor and your tenacity to enjoy life in the face of some pretty rough obstacles. Now forever gripped in the twilight world of Alzheimer's, I hope that you find yourself on that warm beach every day, feeling the spray of salt water on your face, your hand in mine as we ready ourselves to catch the next "big one".

Are you ready, Lizzie-Gail? Dig in with your feet, hang on tight, wait...wait...jump!

The sun is shining, and we have all the day to play, Grandmother.

All my love,
Your first grandchild, your first granddaughter

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I love this tribute. You have made me think of my beloved grandmother (not that I need help), who was playful up until she had a stroke at age 91.

I also remember last year at the beach with my family and playing in the surf with my grandkids. I hope they have as fond a memory of me as I have of them, and I hope they find the girl in me, one day.


This is a very touching story, especially the part about finding the girl who lives inside your Grandmother's body.

How clever of you to recognize that girl the day you were having fun in the sea.

I,too, hope that your Grandmother lives now in warm good memories just as you do...

Your memories of your grandmother are how I hope my grandchildren remember me. I try to play with them so someday they will think of me with a smile or giggle.

I have been having a hard time realizing that the people who were so dear to me, my mother,grandparents, aunts, are only "little stories told while showing their pictures to my grandchildren". It makes me sad to know someday I will be "the one in the picture".
Your memories of your grandmother are so touching.

Just wonderful!. I could see you laughing and floating on the orange rafts. What a great memory for you to cherish.

Thank you all for the very gracious and generous comments.

My grandmother died several years ago, and I had written this post just weeks before she died.

Beverly, I was just thinking similar thoughts this weekend, as I gathered together some old family photos. It is a odd thought, no?

I just read this touching story.
Brought back so many memories of my beloved grandmother.
My parents were teenagers and my grandma worried about me so very much. She would come by train and take me back to her home to spend the summers.
I remember all of those times.
Yes, I want my grandchildren to have loving memories of this grandma.

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