I wrote this last month while visiting home. It was a difficult one to write. Did a lot of reflecting…
As the plane descended over the familiar lush landscape that is my hometown, several emotions reacquainted themselves with me. Feelings of joy, sadness, fear and optimism alternated dance steps in my brain.
“Where has all the time gone?”
“What will the future hold?”
“What happened to all the people I loved who have passed?”
“How can I keep moving forward?”
These are questions I don’t ask myself anymore. They’re only questions raised when provoked by the sight of my past, which is something that happens irregularly since I moved away from my home and family eight years ago.
In our attempt to live a fulfilling adult life, it’s often easy to get caught up in the minutia and forget what you’re thinking, feeling. To forget where you came from.
This last trip home wouldn’t let me walk past the flowers without perking my senses.
I was picked up by my beautiful and cheerful mother at the Syracuse airport, whose presence always fills my heart with joy. With her was my equally beautiful — sometimes not as cheerful — grandmother. The three of us are like peas in a pod: We laugh, we nag, we bicker and we love the living heck out of one another.
For the first time, I saw my grandmother as an old woman. This does not seem possible, for my grandmother has barely aged a day in the past 40 years — but now her walk is feeble, her logic often nonsensical, her temperament short and her optimism sometimes lost.
In our refusal to accept her aging, my mom and I regularly gang up on her, trying to encourage her to think positively and to keep her mind spry. Sometimes she pretends she doesn’t hear us.
As does her boyfriend, Lionel, who we visited on our way from the airport. He now lives in a home for people who no longer think about the present or future, but only the past. Though he is the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, he has difficulty remembering details and we and his children have surrounded his room with pictures of his loved ones, his friends and mementos from the past.