A Grandmother’s Love Doesn’t Fade

My grandmother, perpetually young at heart, prefers that we call her by her chosen nickname, Missy, rather than “Grandma.” She always said that it just didn’t fit her personality, and she was right.

Missy only drove convertibles, wears bright-pink lipstick, and matches her elegance with a warmth that enchants those around her. She is a sun goddess, preferring the beach and a good book to anything else in the world. Being with Missy feels like facing the sun on a cool day. The light goes right through me, bringing with it love and clarity.

When I moved back to my hometown after college, I saw Missy almost every day. I would knock on her green front door to be greeted with her joyful smile and a glass of cola with two ice cubes. It always felt wonderful to feel loved by her. Those moments were a bright light during an otherwise dark time for me.

That fall, I decided to move abroad to France with very little planning. I was excited for my new journey, but it didn’t make parting from my beloved Missy any easier. When I told her I was leaving, Missy and I both cried. I felt my chin quiver uncontrollably. She had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was about to start a journey of her own. Although we were moving in different directions, we had never felt closer.

Missy pulled out her checkbook and looked me in the eyes. She started writing up a number and then ripped up the check. She wrote another number and ripped up the second check. I didn’t understand what it meant until Missy held my face in her hands. Missy said that no amount of money could express the love she felt for me.

I called Missy every week once I left. I reached out from payphones all over France, tears sprouting from my eyes as I stood in parks and on street corners. Missy can no longer take phone calls, but I spend time with her whenever I can make a trip. I am always enchanted by the love that doesn’t fade along with her memory. Missy still gets a twinkle in her eye when she sees me, and I know she’s there.

Image source: Flickr