happy birthday, grandma

I watched the tears roll down my dear cousin’s face last month as she watched our grandma learn the names and roles of everyone in the room. The whole family (like, literally) was home to celebrate Alyssa’s (my favorite oldest niece) graduation. Sidenote. Whaaaat? How can my six-year-old niece be ready for college? #sad

Grandma lives close so it was a great opportunity for everyone to get together and visit. I’ve visited with Grandma enough to know that 1) it’s not easy and 2) that everyone she shares that building with has been prayed for (certainly if they were sick). Because she tells you.

But, it’s not easy. Grandma, in my opinion, ‘left us’ a long time ago. It wasn’t long after Grandpa passed that we realized she was no longer fit to take care of herself and she’s been cared for since. My visits with her are always brief, but I know her as someone else now. The someone that she is. The grandma that has dementia, yet is still so worthy of love.

It’s actually helped in some of my own healing because I have just grown to appreciate the version of her that we have. She is very sweet and always tells me she loves me and misses me so I can be okay with that. Heck, I’m better than okay with that! But for those who don’t see her all the time, I can only imagine how much more challenging those interactions could be.

She had her 187th or 188th birthday Friday (her words, not mine!) and so Connor and I picked out a ridiculously atrocious card that included a cat playing a shaking electric guitar on the inside (and yes, I worried about how that would be … shall we say, received?) and headed over for a visit.

It was the most lucid I’d seen Grandma in probably two or three (?) years. Not long after we arrived, she grabbed me and said, ‘i love you. and i’m still here.’ When everyone had been up for Alyssa’s party, my grandma prayed with them and asked the Lord to make sure they knew that she remembered. I felt like she was telling me that yesterday, too. Of course, she could have just been reminding me she’s not gone yet (my Grandpa soooo would’ve done the same). But I definitely sensed it was the former.

We had the chance to sing with her as we sometimes do and I grabbed my phone so everyone could share in something amazing. And no, it’s not my voice. I mean, I was always told I had a face for radio but when I’m not even sure I have a voice for it? I don’t know; I guess it limits my options.

What is amazing is her ability to recall songs. I just feel like that’s something God gives us. The old hymns and her ability to pray so fervently and with complete clarity are just pieces of the past that I am so thankful for. She is still here.

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