We celebrated my grandmothers eighty fifth birthday yesterday. To make her day special the kids and I took her out with us, even though we knew she wouldn't remember the trip at all. A few people told me not to worry about it but I feel like even if it's not for her, it's treasured memories for me and my kiddos to spend time with her.
The night before, after I put my kids to bed I overheard them talking, one was telling the other "it's great-grandmas birthday and we want her to feel special, so we will be going out to take her to the butterfly farm". After I heard that I realized that it's important to teach my children to honor and respect their elders no matter the condition of their health or mental state. And a few of my kids (if not all) are probably going to have some memories of their great-grandmother and time spent with her.
After we picked her up, on our drive I can't tell you how many times she said the scenery was breathtaking. She went on to tell me stories of her childhood and how far she had to walk to the nearest forest just to enjoy it for a little bit and then walk back home. (I think I might get the love for nature from her.) She told me about how her and her siblings would try to plant trees in their yard but because they didn't know how to care for them they always dried out. As she was talking you could almost sense how she was reliving that memory.
She also shared with me how she got saved and came to know Jesus. How she had to walk 20 kilometers to the nearest church gathering. "Over hills and through valleys" she said and it was all worth it for her. I thanked her for passing down the faith and sharing it with us, in the best way she knew how. I then heard the story a few more times but it didn't bother me :) She's a sweet lady who's lived a long life and went through more hardship then I can ever imagine.
Although I don't even know if she recalls who I am exactly and she definitely doesn't remember my kids or who I'm married to. But she's still my little Granny and will always hold a dear place in my heart.
All my cousins and I, when we were kids the greatest mile stone for us was to reach my grandmas hight haha I remember how one by one we all outgrew her. She always just smiled and stood still each time we would measure up to her to see if we grew at all since the last time we saw her.
As a young child I remember staying the night at her seniors home in Alaska, when we prayed together before bed, her prayer was "if tonight is the night Lord, then take me home to be with you" my prayer was "Oh Lord please not tonight! I still want to get home to my parents somehow". Haha I'm sure she's prayed that same prayer over twenty years now.
Another thing she's always prayed for is that she would leave this earth on her own two feet. And let me tell you, she can walk! She has dementia so if she walks for an hour and then rests she'll forget that she's tired and walk more miles all over again, I guess it keeps her healthy.
Before eating she still prays the same prayer that all her grandkids probably remember by heart. Even my non Russian husband has it memorized. :) But her innocent faithful self just keeps on praying it. I love it.
I remember the day when we were still living in Hawaii and she came to live there too. I was picking her up from the airport and when I looked at her the look in her eyes just froze me. It was so blank I've never felt that from her before. I told her who I was just in case and she said she remembered me but after I was alone I couldn't help but cry. I realized that this is it, she's forgetting. I felt like I was loosing her.
Every time she comes over to visit she leaves my place a little cleaner then when she came. Always sweeping, washing or picking something up. I love how her serving self keeps giving even at her age. When she was more aware and still had her memory she would get paid and after bill she gave all her money away. When she would be giving it to me with one hand behind her back and I would try to say no she would mutter "don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. So take it while I'm giving it to you". Such a sweetheart.
Growing up we didn't treat her with high respect, we thought it was funny to lock her out of the house or hide on the roof from her. I'm ashamed of myself, she went through a lot watching us grandkids. But when we get together we love the memories we all share of her. From gardening and helping in the kitchen to staying over at her house and taking long walks outside. After she moved into my parents house she would come to rock on the rocking chair that they had. Sometimes when she was there it was as if time stood still for me, the window would be open and the breeze would be coming in and the birds were singing outside. I would sit across from her and just watch and wonder what her life was like, what might she be thinking and how long will she still be with us?
I remember her tasty sweet and savory piroshki or the cake that she would make me for my birthday. She made many other great things that I really miss. I'm so happy that when Kyle I were dating, he got to experience our favorite foods from her. Living in Dallas we couldn't wait to have some more of her cooking but when we got back to Alaska we were sad to find out that she no longer cooks or bakes. Step by step we had to let her go.
I didn't plan on writing this post at all but after I spent the day with her, I was going to post a photo with a simple caption but I couldn't stop writing. Taking the time to remember all those precious memories I have of her was very special, I laughed and I cried. I am so happy, blessed and privileged to have a grandmother like her in my life. She's a sweet lady and I'm proud to call her grandma.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.