Yesterday may be the last time I will see my last remaining grandmother alive. I decided rather spontaneously to go down to Florida and help my mother and aunt who are taking care of her. She has been “independent” up until very recently, even flying to Virginia in November on her own to celebrate her 90th Birthday and Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, she has had a rapid decline in her health.
My cousins, sister, mom and aunt all sat around her little condo in Delray and reminisced while looking through old-fashioned photo albums. Yes, you know- the ones that have loose photos and newspaper clippings that fall out when you open the cover. The kind that as you turn the page, the hole detaches from the metal ring, most likely never shutting properly since the day it was purchased.
We looked through page by page, showing them to Nana. Honestly, it could not have been a more appropriate and meaningful day. Nana barely can smile at this point, but I managed to snap an iPhone picture of her beaming while looking at an old photograph. Is there anything better than that?
I let out a yelp and burst into tears when one image of a very strong memory shot me straight in the gut. I do not recall ever seeing it before. I didn’t know it existed. (Usually it’s the other way around. We have a memory because we have a photograph and can then relive the moment.) The image is of me with my great-grandfather George. If you asked me to tell you a memory about him, it would be one simple thing. We would sit at the kitchen table and he would give me a little beaded change purse. We would empty it out and find the shiniest pennies. I don’t remember why or what we did specifically with them- but pennies and Grandpa Georgie made a big impact on me. I can’t even tell you how it felt to see this picture. It was such a gift- almost like going back in time.
That’s what a photograph did for me… well it did that and so much more.