This is my grandmother.
She is one of my favorite people.
I come from a very small family.
There are only four of us.
My mother, my father, my grandmother and I.
Dad left when I was seven, and my grandmother, who still lives across the street from my mother, helped raise me.
I grew up in the clothing store she owned for 35 years and spent my childhood thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
She still is, but she’ll tell you she’s not.
“Beauty is for young people,” she says.
I try to tell her that her logic is faulted; I tell her that beauty can be any age, any woman, any soul.
But she won’t hear of it.
I never thought that the day would come when this determined, stubborn, busy-bee-of-woman would get old.
But she did.
And she hates it.
Aches and pains make it difficult for her to walk for long stretches of time.
She gets exhausted easily.
She spends many of her days inside her house, losing track of what day it is and missing excitement in her life.
Gone are the days of being a downtown business owner; gone are the days of attending parties and leaving everyone breathless with her effortless style; gone are the days where she can worry about everyone but herself.
She sits at home, alone, thinking about regrets and wishing she had more to look forward to.
She thinks about the two ex-husbands, one deceased and one not; she thinks about her significant other, Lionel, who is in a hospital battling Alzheimer’s disease; she thinks about how she can no longer drive out of town to see Lionel; she thinks about her daughter who she sees every day; she thinks about her granddaughter who she wishes lived closer; she thinks about the store she owned and how she’d still work there, if she could; she thinks about her modest Social Security check each month; she thinks about the little bit of money I send her each month; she thinks about all the home repairs she cannot afford; she thinks about all the dreams she never fulfilled and the dreams she maybe never had.
I plead with her to invite friends over or to meet for tea at the local diner.
“What friends?” she asks me. “My friends are all dead.”
Every time I talk to her, I hear a little less passion, a little less interest and a lot more heartache.
And it kills me.
It absolutely kills me to hear the utterances of depression leaving the lips of this woman I love so much.
She doesn’t know that after we hang up on our twice weekly phone calls, I cry.
I cry for the inevitable; I cry that I cannot turn back time; I cry that I can not take her mental and physical anguish away.
I feel so helpless living far away, and I wish every day that she could have a spark of excitement.
So, this got me thinking.
My grandmother loves getting mail, and I’m wondering, and I know this a strange request, but would you write to her?
I’ve made it my goal to get as many people to send a pen pal letter to her just so she can have something to look forward to.
If you’re interested, her name is Nan McCormick (her birth name is Nettie Mae).
You can write her at:
P.O. Box 6097
Austin, TX 78762
I’d love for her to get as many letters as possible, so please feel free to share.
This will be a big surprise for her, and I think it will really help brighten her day!
If you’re interested in writing to seniors, Love for the Elderly will send your letters and notes to local organizations who will then distribute them to individuals.
And if you have a grandparent, call and tell them that you love them.
It means the world to them.