i think older people get taken for granted a lot. sometimes they are left alone in nursing homes sometimes they grow old in houses together standing by the door waiting for the mail to come... always making the most menial of tasks the center of their day, because there aren't people around to be the center of their day.
i visited my grandma while we were in LA, we stayed at her house and i felt like we came into an igloo and melted the walls with life. her house is spotless, her week is planned out so there is one (or less than one) event meant to be done that day, ie going to the eye doctor, or grocery shopping. my grandfather sleeps a lot and has headaches a lot which leaves my grandma in an empty house with her thoughts alone. if anyone knows me in real life, you could come to the conclusion very easily that this would not be the most beneficial of situations for someone related to me... who has a mind that works so closely to my own.
while arabella was napping i just sat and talked with my grandma. i loved listening to her talk about our family and where they came from, telling me her memories both good and bad, from the day she got her tonsils out and spilled a milkshake to the day two officers showed up at her doorstep to tell her her husband had been in an accident. it was something i cant really describe... to sit next to this woman with a lifetime between her and that moment, yet while she spoke i just watched the tears fall as she explained the details of this day, i was in it... i could feel the worry when he was late, the explanations running through her head telling her it was ok as she fed her children and got them in the bath, then the terror as she heard a car pull in, looking out the window she wouldnt see him driving up. just two men in uniform. she doesn't remember the year after that. who would? i asked her how she got out of bed every morning after that, how she raised those four children on her own, and raised them well. she told me about the family that surrounded them, the family made up of neighbors and friends, that held her up and pushed her through.
she talked to me about marrying the man i know as my grandpa 16 years after that day. she talked to me about each of her children and the things she loves about each of them. she told me about her mother, about how she met my grandfather, how their mothers hated each other, and how they eloped in vegas. ...
its remarkable the stories, the lifetimes, the memories that will be lost with the people who hold them. we have so much to gain from those who have lived before us.
i'm so thankful to be moving closer to her, to be able to spend time learning from her stories.