Thursday, July 9, 2015

I'll Always See That Strong Woman

For a moment she sounded strong again.

She laughed loudly as the memories of being in a relationship flowed back into her mind; the times of feeling butterflies deep down for her man, the moments of him sweeping her off her feet with the sweetest of surprises, the times of being comfortable just from the sight of him, and the moments she'd rather be alone.
I snapped this photo as she was peaceful sleeping.

As she questioned me about the man I allowed her to think I have she smiled and got lost in her own thoughts. She asked if I had spoken to him since I had been in town and I replied with a no. Then she started talking about how both he and I were avoiding each other for those several days. I wanted her to be happy, so I didn't spoil that moment for my great grandmother.

It had been a while since I last saw her; 5 years to be exact. So much has changed. She is no longer the vibrant woman I remember growing up. She's no longer the active woman from a couple of years ago. Instead my great grandmother is frail. Although she sometimes talks as though she's still independent, she cannot stand up on her own. She needs all the help that she can get.

A couple days ago I watched her attempt to stand up on her own when she needed to go to the restroom. She leaned against her walker as she was sitting and tried to lift herself up. Her eyes watered and I started to get up and help her. At the same time I got the attention of my mom because I knew I wasn't strong enough to help her.

Just as quickly as my great granny is talking and full of life, she'll also drift to another world. She can barely remember who anyone is at times. While I didn't witness it, my mom says she talks to herself and the dead often. There are nights where she struggles to sleep and wants to be moved from her bed to the living room. It wears everyone else out, but they oblige. She is suffering from dementia. You may wonder why she isn't in a nursing home and the answer is simple. My great grandma is spoiled.

Her life started in 1928. There are stories she's told that I'm struggling to hold onto.  I want to remember waking up in the mornings as a kid and drinking coffee with her. We were the only ones indulging in the delicious coffee, but we didn't need any other company. After moving to Houston at the age of 6, for years I'd only drink coffee when I went back to Plant City to visit her and my grandma.

There's more to this story. You can read all of my thoughts on this beautiful lady that helped raise me in one of my future books.

P.S. I hope no one in my family minds that I'm using this photo of her on the blog.