Lydia is my niece. She is a sophomore at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas. She doesn’t travel to the southeast as much as we’d like but she was here over the weekend. Christmas of 2015 was the last time she’d spent any time with Mom. I asked her to write today’s article. She was happy to oblige. ~ Donna
Ever since I can remember, my visits to my grandparents’ house would be a blur of playing with various baby dolls and blocks on the back porch, fighting with my older cousins to play pool, and waiting patiently for my granddaddy’s special waffles and sausage. When we walked in the door, there would be a dozen pairs of shoes piled at the door and a few shouts of “knock knock!” as we tried to hold the heavy storm door open without it slamming shut. Through the years, my visits have been less frequent, but the love I feel as soon as I walk in the door has never disappeared. We have almost all grown up from the youngsters we used to be, but it seems like time stands still every time I’m within these walls.
In the more recent years, each time I come, my grandmama seems to be in a different stage of her disease. In past visits she’s gone from not being able to drive, to having to walk with a cane everywhere she goes, and now hardly being able to walk at all. As I look back on it, each stage is clear, but in her own special way she still has her funny habits or things she’ll say and do. To me she’s never seemed to be very different, just limited in her abilities. I’ve always known my grandmama to be happy and cheerful so even through her confusion, she still manages to make a joke of almost everything. In addition, if she doesn’t quite hear what someone says, she’ll look at me, smile, and giggle just because she can. That is something I’ve learned from each visit to see my grandparents. If there’s happiness and love in your heart, it is passed on to the people around you. It’s something you learn to have even through the most sad and painful moments.
The walls, chest of drawers, counters, and cabinets of my grandparents house are filled to the brim with pictures and mementos of our family. Every time I come, it seems another picture frame has been squeezed in somewhere. The one thing I love most is that in every picture, all you can see is love and happiness through our smiling faces. Maybe this is the secret to how love seems to pour out from the walls and doors of this home, but it could also just be the two people who live inside. No matter how old I get or how far away I am from this place, I’ll always have the memories of love and happiness that I have received from their overflowing hearts, and that’s one thing a disease will never be able to touch.