Never Forget

I’ve been absent for a while now. With the craziness of the holidays I chose to take a break as I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was running crazy for the past couple of months. There have been some big life changes going on around here. The most recent being that my grandfather passed away. He was my dad’s dad and it’s been hard on everyone.
As we sat through the funeral I watched my grandmother, who has dementia, struggle to keep a grasp on what was going on. There were moments of clarity where she knew who I was and held my hand, but mostly there was confusion. She didn’t know what was going on and wanted to know where my papa was. She asked if we had seen him, when he was getting there, etc.
I always thought there was nothing worse than seeing someone lose their spouse, especially when you’ve been married nearly 60 years like they had, but I was wrong. I was so so wrong. The worst thing is watching someone you love lose someone they love, and they can’t remember losing. In a way it seems like it would be a blessing because you wouldn’t have to deal with it, but the reality of it is they deal with it over and over and over. As we sat at the wake I watched her ask if we were there for her father’s funeral, I watched her ask if Papa had died in a car accident and at one point she even asked if he had taken his own life. As she was sitting close to the casket there was no use in trying to get around it. Someone would explain to her that Papa had a bad heart, that he had been sick for a long time and Jesus had taken him home. I can’t explain the pain that went through me when I watched her world fall apart. I wanted to stop it, and tell her it would be okay. She would absorb the shock then she would grieve and cry until she couldn’t remember why she was crying, where we were or why we were there. Thus the horrible cycle went for two long days. At the end of the funeral she seemed to be grounded down and remembering the past hour, until we got to the burial and it happened all over again. When she got home late that night I had to watch my Daddy tell his mother that the love of her life had died, and I had to watch his world be further broken apart by her asking if he would pray that she could go too because she didn’t want to live without papa. He told her he couldn’t pray that but that he promised that she would be taken care of and that she would never be left alone.
(As a side note here I have to say that I was proud of my dad through this. He stepped up and took care of his mother and sisters through the death of his father and stood strong, making the hard calls and taking care of everyone around him. I was really proud of him and ask that you say a little prayer for him as he works through his grief.)
So through all of this it made me think about a lot of things but mainly obviously getting old and the end of life. What I was struck the most by was the thought of losing my memories and how horrible it would be. I started going through the things that I take for granted now but if I were to ever lose, I would lose part of myself.
I never want to forget the way my Papa smelled like spearmint gum and when I was little we would race to the recliner to claim the remote.
I never want to forget the way my Nanny used to laugh and the way she said his name when she got flustered.
I never want to forget the way my Pawpaw stands taller than life and how he gives the biggest hugs.
I never want to forget the way my Grandma has held my hand and prayed like no one else can and how she would keep all the grandkids and take us to McDonalds at 2 am just because we wanted some fries.
I never want to forget the way my best friend laughs, because it’s truly the best laugh of anyone and so unmistakably her.
I never want to forget the way my brothers’ eyes twinkle when they laugh and tease me.
I never want to forget the Saturday morning trips to the country store with my Daddy for a Yahoo.
I never want to forget all the advice, and all the open honest talks and laughs with my Mom. I don’t want to ever forget the way she hugs.
I never want to forget the moment I fell in love with Joe. I don’t want to forget the butterflies the first time he held my hand, the first kiss, and the way he looked at me on our wedding day. I don’t want to forget the way he looks in the morning or the way it feels to fall asleep beside him. The moments I fall in love with him over and over again. These moments I want to hold on to forever.
I don’t want to forget the Christmases that are total chaos with all my nieces and nephews. I don’t want to forget the moment my brother brought my dog Rhett home. I don’t want to forget all the moments of pure joy with my family and friends. The moments could go on and on because it’s years and years of beautiful full moments that have made up my life.
I don’t normally do New Year’s resolutions because I never stick to them. But this year it isn’t about a resolution so much as a change of view. I want to take more pictures to remember the moments. I want to live in the moments to the fullest. I want to live and be hyper sensitive to the things around me, not just float through it. I want to hold on to the moment I hold my baby for the first time. The moment my baby smiles or says “Mommy”. These are the things I want to hold on to. I know as I get older I’ll probably forget some things. The memories may not be as clear, they might get a little cloudy over time, but I’m going to hold on as long as I can with all that I can. I want to remember and never forget the beautiful amazing moments that make up this crazy thing called life.

Rachel

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