Friday, October 10, 2008

The Circle

I read a few blogs. I wake up with them and my first cup of coffee most mornings when I get to my desk at work. Shh.. don't tell my boss. Not on really busy days of course. Ahem.

Today, I read this post from a blogger I don't often read. She reminded me of my great grammy.

I met my great grammy once in a nursing home on a trip to Pennsylvania when she was 98 and I was about 10. She was my paternal grandfather's mother and the only one of my great grandparents still alive. I don't think she knew who any of us were. We explained who we were and I saw her searching her memories for distant visions of the past. Recognizable, but faded and just out of reach. Two people became one and separate events were intertwined and mingled like tendrils of new spring plants. Searching and winding their way around the deepest reaches of her mind.

She knew she had children, she remembered one son and one daughter. My grandfather also had a brother. She knew my grandfather, but called him by his sister's name. In that moment I saw in my grandfather's eyes a sadness and loss that I did not at the time understand. His family never got along well with each other, none of them, but in that moment, he became a child yearning for his mother's affections.

My great grammy was wearing a watch. We asked her if she knew what time it was. I understand she had quite the quick wit in her younger days and would show us her watch and ask if we could see. Then she stared at the face for a few minutes and pronounced it 8:15 in the morning. It was 2:00 in the afternoon but her watch had stopped and she was only about 5 minutes off.

In the next room, bingo was being played and she started repeating the callers. I-23. N-42. 0-65. BINGO! We took her to a table and made our quiet exit. Her connection with us was over and she was focused on something else.

I learned then, but didn't understand, that life truly is a circle. We enter this world not knowing, not understanding, not capable. Many of us become infants all over again. Helpless and reliant on those around us. Some are cast aside and forgotten and some are taken far too soon.