We went to see my 100 year old grandmother again before we left Sedona Arizona. John did not join us because he was visiting the Grand Canyon for the day with some of my cousins. Instead, Zane and I went to see his great-grandmother with my cousin Kathryn, her husband Mike, and their two year old son Samuel. We spent time with her outside, in a courtyard area. The young boys played while my grandmother watched. The old woman seemed amused and filled with joy by their youthful visit. Though she did not speak, a smile sat on her wrinkled lips as she watched the boys play. Often she has a grim, pinched lip look, as if gritting through the pain of life. But while watching the young children play, run, and laugh, that look left her face. It was replaced by a sweet, satisfied smile. At one point, the two year old boys played “peek-a-boo” in front of the 100 year old woman. Watching the boys laugh and squeal, made the old woman break out into a full grin, teeth and all!
After 45 minutes of watching the boys run, dig, hide, and have fun, we could tell she was exhausted. So we told the boys to say good bye and give their great-grandmother a hug and kiss. Both boys delighted in showing love to the elderly woman. As we wheeled the 100 year old woman back toward the door to go inside, Zane found a fake flower on the ground. He picked it up and showed it to me. “Give it to your Granny,” I suggested. Zane ran after his great-grandmother’s wheel chair, screaming, “Granny, Granny!” When her chair stopped, Zane ran in front of it and reached out with the flower.
The old woman smiled, her eyes danced, as if they were young again, and for the first time that day, she spoke, “Thank you, dear!” clear as a bell!
I believe the thank you was not just for the flower, but for the entire visit full of kindness, youth, and laughter. It was a ‘thank you for bring me such joy today’. It was a ‘thank you for caring for me and loving me in my old age’. It was a ‘thank you’ that made me feel a responsibilty... a responsibility to carrying on her memory, lineage, and the life she gave to us all!