6/24/12 (part 2 of the day) My grandma Thomas is 104 years old, in a nursing home and still going. Unfortunately she is not all there mentally but she has her moments of clarity and in those I am lucky to catch a glimpse of my grandmother again.
Alex and I went to visit my grandmother today at the nursing home with my Dad and sister, Anne. She was having an especially good day and we all went for a walk down the halls. My grandmother held onto my Dad’s arm while Alex walked with the walker. It was pretty darn cute to say the least. At one point my father stopped to let her rest and my grandmother said very sternly, “What’s the matter? Are you tired already?” and then she tugged on his arm and they kept walking. We finally ended up in the community area and it was just her, Alex and I. She loved having Alex there and held his hand in one of hers and my hand in her other one. We all just stared into each others eyes with an unspoken connection. I had tears in my eyes, it was such a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.
My grandmother was a very important person in my life. She had an in-law apartment in the house I grew up in. So I had constant access to her and I was so lucky that she was part of our daily lives growing up. In my lifetime she taught me many things:
. Her famous quote, “pennies, make dollars”
. how to crochet
. how 11 grandchildren washing her car was so much fun for all of us
. she tried to teach me Portuguese but I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Instead I would listen to her speak to her our family on the phone in Portugal and I would hear “blah blah blah Susan blah blah blah Susan” as she would look over at me. It was then that I wished I had learned.
. you better not get in too late because grandma is a light sleeper and she will know exactly when you pulled in the driveway vs. what time you walked inside the house
. her apartment was on the second floor and she could see just about everything that went on around the neighborhood. Her nickname among us grandkids was “Ole Amy-eye” (instead of eagle eye)
. the simple things in life can be the most amazing
. you don’t need many “things” in life to be happy
. grow your own food and herbs
. the joy of cooking for others
. how to make a fort under her kitchen table
. the ongoing strength of a woman that had been through so much in her life
. a woman shouldn’t be afraid to get dirty and get right in there
. it’s ok to enjoy a drink or two…or three… or four (she did like her Southern Comfort Manhattans and an occasional shot of Jack Daniels)
. family is of utmost importance
. she said exactly what was on her mind so you always knew where you stood with her, no question
. the church may not have all the answers but it’s a place to be respected so you dressed up
. how to pray and be a spiritual being
. be your own person
. no need to be shy
. kiss those you love and pinch their cheeks often
. Mary summarized my grandmother so well…she showed love
And so my grandmother was one of my first teachers of so much. But most importantly she was an amazing teacher of what it looked like to love unconditionally. Thank you Grandma. I will pass that on as best I can.