This time last year, I organized a photo shoot to honor my grandmother for her birthday. I had my family dress in white because it represents light, the opposite of darkness. My grandmother suffered from Dementia and her quality of life had diminished drastically over the course of a year. The once vibrant woman I knew was feeble and bedridden. It hurt. I wanted to give her life...a few moments to be pain-free and enjoy her celebration. That day we laughed and reminisced about how my grandmother was the most confident woman we knew. Unfortunately, she was rushed to the hospital that night, and that's where she spent the next few months. She parted this earth on July 15, 2014. As a family, we gathered around her bed and said our final goodbyes. Her body remained, but her soul had moved on. It was hard to not selfishly wish she were still here with us.
I believe diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer's are brought on when people are trying to suppress memories. While there are other health factors than memory loss, our minds have the power to do extraordinary things, including opting out. My grandparents were soul mates. If you saw one, you saw the other. My grandmother was an only child, and was use to being spoiled by her family, especially by my grandfather. When he passed, she was never the same. The pain of losing your significant other is unimaginable, especially when you've been together for decades. It was time for her to go home and be with him, so they could be together again.
My grandmother is one of my favorite people. Her memory lives on in us, and anyone who ever knew her. She was beautiful and kind, but she didn't tolerate disrespect. She was progressive, ahead of her time. She loved her family, and we loved her more. I owe her so much. She taught me to never make myself smaller to fit someone else's idea of how they think I should be. To fight for what you believe in, and to keep God in your life at all times. I will never forget the moments where I would brush her hair and use a whole jar of grease to style it. Or our trips to the market on Saturdays to sell Avon, where she let me keep the money I made to buy a special treat.
I chose to honor her while I still had the chance. I choose to honor her today.
Happy Birthday Grandma!