February 21, 2012

Memaw's Best Bits

She smiles as I bring her water.  "You okay, Memaw?"

Her answer's always sweet-tempered and the same, "I'm fine."

She doesn't speak much anymore, dementia has taken her thoughts. Seeing her reading takes me back to a small stash of newspapers by the rocking chair in her old house. She'd lick her fingers and thumb through them savoring each word and offering up the best bits for our enjoyment.

Now she wipes her eye and I notice the withered softness of her hands. She used to cook for me with those hands: sourdough bread alongside vegetables from Papaw's garden; molasses cookies sent to my college dorm just when we were running out; white glistening coconut cake presented at Christmas.  But now her hands are hard-pressed to do anything on their own.

At times I've wondered why we have to lose our memory as we age or why our bodies stop working as they once did.

This week Memaw's visiting us to give Mom and Dad a breather. Now I'm the one cooking after her; telling her small stories from the news and giving her vegetables from someone else's garden. I bring her cookies and show her my paintings. I dress her and fix her hair. I pat her hands in comfort the way she used to do with mine.

Maybe the love poured into us as children grows so that one day we're free to give it back.


  1. Maybe the love poured into us as children grows so that one day we're free to give it back. Maybe that's why we age.

    beautifully put Catherine
    thank you for this

    love and light

  2. Your Memaw is very lucky to have you in her life, as you're lucky, too. Wishing you beautiful quiet moments together.

  3. Wonderful reflection on how love wraps around and comes back to us. Your loving acts are making her time at your home comfortable and lovely, and making memories for both of you.

  4. Beautiful post. You have an amazing heart, and I'm glad your Memaw can find comfort in her family even if her body is too tired.

  5. This is so beautiful. I love the sentiment of love growing inside us so that we are free to give it away.

  6. This was very sweet. Brought tears to my eyes : ]

  7. Catherine, I adore this peek into your love for your Memaw! I don't normally share my own posts in the comments section, but I wrote something for my grandma that I'd love for you to read. (Not sure if it will come through as a link below.)

    I think you're right, about the love poured into us as children. To everything a season.



  8. What a sweet story about your Memaw. What nicer thing that to give back the love we have been given.

  9. Love this post, I understand well as I am following similar path with my mom (although her mind is still sharp. Thanks for sharing

  10. I really respect and appreciate you for doing this for your grandma! Hugs!


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