Photo © Artography by Bethany
I forget often that grandma is one month shy of 93. She is the matriarch of her whole (gigantic) family being the eldest of all. She is also at the heart of much of my happy childhood memories. To me, she is immortal and never ages. My entire being needs her long hugs and her twinkling eyes (usually with mischief in them) in my life. Her leading the pack of 4 generations that is my mom, me and my daughter is an endless anecdote of amusing stories and tales of laughter and a little naughty mixed in.
Then on December 28, 2019 I called my mom as I do often during the week. Something was wrong and she told me "Grandma had a stroke this morning."
It was one of those moments, you know...the ones where you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. My mind raced to figure out how I was going to get to the hospital despite the terrible ice storm we were in the midst of in Minnesota.
I was not prepared to face the reality that I might have to say good-bye - that I might not be able to say it in person and whisper in her ear just one more time how much I loved her.
I remember glancing at a beautiful framed portrait of the 4 of us on the wall in which we are all cuddled in on each other with grandma in the middle laughing. That was an amazing weekend we spent together having our pictures taken just a few months prior.
Then I gasped. I realized when we purchased our pictures from that session, I was being very money conscious - like most people are. My mom bought a picture of her and grandma. My daughter bought a picture of her and grandma. I did not buy a picture of myself and grandma. In reality, I am the one always taking the pictures and there are rarely any photos of me WITH people, and at this particular time with my grandma. Just her and I.
Realizing the roads were in no condition to travel on I waited for my mom to call me back with news - quite impatiently. Her stroke only affected her speech - cognitively and physically she was doing very well. In fact, she made a full recovery with some physical & speech therapy and today you'd never know she had a stroke.
Know what I did though? Not long after I called my photographer and yes, she still had our photos and I purchased the one I glazed over previously.
My quick snap shots and cell phone pictures are awesome for triggering memories of a time or place - but there is something about a clear, sharp portrait of the person you love smiling at you everyday in its place of honor in your home that pours a lifetime of joy into your soul. COVID robs me of seeing her as often as I want - but her presence is in the room all the time with that photo of us in the frame.
And you know what - it is absolutely priceless and so valuable. She is full of life and it is just her. ♥
I am so lucky and blessed to still be able to call her and tell her how much I love her. Right now, in fact is a good time to call her...
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