It's been way too long since our last visit. She's 100 years old and she sits there in that big ol' chair all day not able to get up and move around or do much of anything anymore. We walk in and her Grandma White smile shines as bright as the sun that beams in behind her. All of us huddle around her chair and she just takes them in. One by one she looks into their dark brown eyes and remembers or tries to remember their name. There is just too many of them. Her great grand children stand in front of her, black and white and she just takes them in. She knows her though and her eyes stop on Chandler-Mae Grayce White because this little girl was named after her. She remembers.
She smiles at Channie and says, "Do you like being named after grandma?" Channie-Mae says, "Yes, M'am" I'm not sure Channie knows yet what being named after someone really means. Carrying someones name with you for the rest of your life. Keeping a part of that person tucked somewhere deep within you until your last breath, keeping that person alive.
They were both just happy to sit a spell and stare at each other. One so very old and one so very young. Her eyes are still young though even after 100 years. She gently takes her and pulls her close and Channie, not quite knowing what to do, just gives into Grandma's hug. I look away because I feel the hot tears starting to seep. Old age seems so hard.
I look around the nursing home at the faces there. They once were young, I can only imagine that they never saw themselves sitting in chairs all day watching the hours tick. Sitting and eyes gone bad so you can't read or sew or even watch T.V. anymore. Just sitting. We stay a little while and then it's time to leave. She chuckles as I gather everyone up "how do you feed all these kids?" the same question she always asks me.
"I don't know Grandma, it's not hard. Just make double what you would."
She laughs " I guess so." I want to ask her how she sits here all day. What she thinks about. What she wishes she could do over. If she could run, where would she run to? Questions I don't ask.
I reach over and grab her hand to say bye and I promise to be better about visiting. We slip out the door and wade through the faces of the very old who look at us as we pass.
Remember to visit more.
My boys and I go to the nursing home sometimes and I wonder the same thing about how they sit all day. Visiting them makes their day.
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