My grandmother just turned 100. Her mind is sharper than mine, but she cannot walk for too long and is now for the first time ever complaining that she cannot do what she used to; knit, sew, or cook. She doesn’t like to have people do things for her, which I understand all too well because she was always very independent and active. It saddens me that she feels this way. Try as I may, to make her feel better, inevitably it falls through.
I’m very lucky to be able to spend time with her now, as well as having been able to celebrate her recent birthday. I’m making sure I’m 100% with her when I visit every day. This means no checking my phone, which is a relief too. All she appreciates now is chatting, and we do this a lot. We talk about how at 49, my father, sister and I arrived from the US at her door and she took a mom’s role a second time round. I was 3 and my sister was 5, in other words; a handful.
Now I’m older and much more understanding and appreciative of all she has done for us. When she tells me about how hard she worked and stories about the different jobs she took and places she moved to in order to provide for her family, I feel ashamed. My problems are not problems. She was a real trooper.
This time, I’m not going to waste time as I often do when I travel to Spain, I want to hear all her stories. These are invaluable life lessons told first hand I don’t want to miss. I don’t want to be left wondering who she was. She wasn’t always my grandmother, she was a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a sister.
And I love her and cannot imagine the world without her. How can I? How can anyone?