After I finish writing to you, I will be heading to the phone. I will be dialing an unfamiliar number to a place I visited only two weeks ago.
A tired, but loving, voice will pick up on the other end and most likely say...
-"Hi Sweetie, I'll get him."
I'll listen to the inevitable prompt in the background...
-"It's Maya, honey, your first granddaughter."
I will then wish the man that has played the role of both my grandfather (and even more often) my father...
A Happy 93rd Birthday!I will explain to him who I am.
I will tell him how old he is, what the special day is, what day of the week, the month...
I will tell him several times, I am sure.
He will hear it, but a second after the words leave my mouth... the information will vanish.
Alzheimer's Disease. It began by stealing memories one by one... now and then. Now it has thieved almost every bit of his extremely brilliant mind. It's hard not to feel angered by this loss. But his gentle heart remains. Love is the only thing that his brain seems to be able to compute anymore. Is it that the function of our hearts is so completely separate? Because his is full... it still works so well. During the time I spent with him on June 1st, I answered 100 times what day it was-Wednesday. What month- June... his birthday month. He was aware that having a handle on time was essential, but didn't know that his grasp was gone. In contrast, more than 100 times he told me confidently, without wavering, how much he loved me. He didn't know who the hell I was, but he knew/felt deeply that he loved me. I know it too. I am so grateful for the ability to still hug him and hold him. To feel him close. It has been a rich and long life, and these fleeting moments that make me ache and weep are still a precious part of the whole story. The story of 93 years on this Earth. My grandfather is an amazing man. He has lead a life worth telling about. But that is not his job anymore. It is the legacy for his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. We will carry his stories, hold his memories, and pass down his gifts. And this morning, on June 17th, I will celebrate each and every one of them while wishing him a Happy BIRTHday!
|My summers were always with my grandparents. July 1979. My 10th birthday.|
|10 years later, now my little sister was 10(1/2).|