The summer before my senior year my Grandma was diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer. She was given 3 months to live.
It’s hard to fully describe her. She radiated love and light. She had a laugh that shook her whole body. She gave the fiercest hugs, and always had a table overflowing with food for her guests. In a word, she was vibrant.
She and my Pappy had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
When Grandma got sick the world seemed to stop turning. I hated seeing her sick. But even when she felt her worse, she always made sure Pappy fixed us a snack when we came to visit. She was taking care of us. He was taking care of her.
One day towards the end, I was sitting in their kitchen eating pretzels and cheese. She was in a hospital bed in the living room. Pappy was by her side. He sat there, gently holding her hand. He lightly touched her face. I can still see her eyes gazing into his. Pain, fear, love and joy mingled together.
For a minute I didn’t see my Grandma and Pappy. I saw two people who had built a life together for 50 years. The power of their love in that moment has stayed with me through the years. It was beyond me but enveloped me at the same time. And even though she is no longer with us, their love is a still a force in my life today.
Happy Valentine’s Day.