“She didn’t remember me today, but there was a moment I saw a spark in her eyes,” my cousin tells me as we enjoy the graduation lunch. I wonder what my visit will hold. Will she remember because she hasn’t known who I am in a very long time.
We arrive at her house and sit on the porch, my grandmother and me. She knows my name but can’t quite connect the dots of who I am. I try to tell her, explain I’m her granddaughter, the oldest child of her son.
She may not recall much of her 94 years, but I do. Memories of my spunky, quirky, never sit still for a minute, force to be reckoned with grandmother float through my mind.
She’s the one I watched can jellies and tomatoes, ride her horse Velvet, and make the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted. She sewed anything she wanted no pattern needed, embroidered her own designs, and had the greenest thumb in the family. She fished and hunted squirrel. If you didn’t recognize the food she placed in front of you at the table it was best not to ask.
She wasn’t the typical grandmother. Spending weeks with her in the summer meant hard manual labor, and learning new things. She was tough, determined, and the first to dive in the lake for a swim when it was time to play.
Now my force of a grandmother and I sit side by side on the porch swing. She points out her flowers and her fish pond. She asks the same questions over and over. “Will you drive home tonight? Who’s that,” pointing to my middle child.
As we move inside to visit, my son’s hair takes center stage. Over and over she comments, “Look at his curly hair.” He takes his hat off, and her eyes sparkle with joy, “You must have gotten a permanent.” He shakes his head no and she giggles, “That’s natural curl. It’s beautiful.”
Each time she looks at him we go through the same conversation. His curly hair sparking unanticipated joy. I smile and think I am witnessing a valuable joy lesson. And maybe I should be more like her, though some say I already am.
Funny how I see the same things everyday and completely miss the beauty in it. I walk over green grass, watch a toddler hold tight to his momma’s leg, hear the sound of my child’s voice on the phone without much thought because it happens often. I’ve not forgotten yet, but would there be joy if I did? If I approached this world and experienced the beauty in life as if it were the first time would unaticipated joy spark a new fire in me?
I stand to leave and hug her tight. She looks up into my eyes and says, “We had some good times didn’t we.” Tears well and I nod, “Yes mam, we did.” Part of me morns the loss of her memory, and still there is hope. Though our time here is drawing to a close, my faith sings out, even yearns for what is coming.
You see, there will come a day. A day when she will remember. A day when she’ll finally recognize even the sorrow of this life has purpose. On that day she’ll gaze up at the Savior for the very first time, and joy will permeate every memory.
I can imagine she’ll hug the Father up tight and He’ll whisper, “We had some good times didn’t we.” She’ll look into the face of the Holy, but no tears of times gone by will fall. For this is an everlasting, never ending, all consuming, more than enough joy.
A joy she’ll never, no never, forget.