from you

I posted the following photo on Diary’s Facebook page yesterday.

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Katie and my beautiful grandmother, her Oomah.

{image is a photo of Katie sitting with my grandma while she naps by the windows. One of Katie’s hands is on Oomah’s shoulder while she holds her hand with the other. Gentle, abiding love fills the room.}

Katie and I sit on either side of my Grandmother’s wheelchair in the sitting room.

We face the windows, even though she doesn’t open her eyes.

I am rubbing her shoulders, as I always do. “Dad made me promise,” I tell her. As I always do.

This is how we love each other. Well, this and food.

“Ooh, that feels good,” she says. “Where did you learn to do that?”

The patter is always the same. Its familiarity envelops me like a soft, well-worn robe.

“Where do you think, lady?” I say, purposefully chuckling out loud so that she will hear the smile that she can no longer see. “From Dad. And who do you think he learned it from?”

Her face breaks into a smile, lighting the room.

“From his muthah,” she says, smiling at the affect of the New York accent that, even after a lifetime in Bayside Queens, she somehow resisted.

“That’s right,” I say, “from his muthah.”

We sit in comfortable silence.

“I’m going to close my eyes now, children,” she says after a few minutes. A funny turn of phrase given that her eyes have been closed since we arrived, but we tell her to relax; we’re not going anywhere.

Grandma nods off.

We sit.

I lower my chin to my chest, trying desperately to stretch my neck. After quieting briefly, a herniated disc is exacting a high toll again. I involuntarily grimace as I lower my head.

Katie stands up and walks around my chair. Without a word, she begins to massage my neck. I smile as the tears push against my closed eyelids.

“Where’d you learn to do that?” I say.

“From you,” she says. I can hear the smile in her voice. “And Papa. And Oomah.”

This is how we love each other.

Well, this and food.

13 thoughts on “from you

  1. That’s right,” I say, “from his muthah”…so beautiful. Trying it on this end with a southern twang. Very grateful for your writings and light, lo

  2. You always have been a blessing and now you brought two other blessings into the world. How rich you make me feel and how wonderful you are to Grandma.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Love you so,
    Dad

  3. So beautiful! Reminds me very much of my grandma and my daughter. My grandma spent the last year’s of her life in an assisted living facility. My daughter became a well known face there after spending several nights a week and most Saturdays there, just having chats, reading and coloring with a great-grandma who didn’t even remember her anymore. Such a staple she was at that facility that when my grandma passed they asked my girl, “will you still visit? So many will miss you if you don’t.” She did and she still does. And now my eyes are too full of tears to continue. Your Katie is a beautiful soul.

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