Monday, August 29, 2016

If Looks Could Resurrect Instead of Kill, Who Would I Stare At? #AKwritingChallenge Day 12

What an interesting topic for a blog post. This required no thought for me at all. The answer came to me immediately.

My grandmother, Mimi.

I would do just about anything to have Mimi back in my life again.

Wasn't she beautiful? She was that way both inside and out. Beautiful.

Mimi was only forty-seven when I was born. Wow. She was only two years older than I am now when she became a grandmother for the first time. I was kind of a surprise. I showed up at a rather unstable time in Mimi's life. She and my grandfather were about to divorce after twenty plus years of marriage ... and she still had kids of her own at home. That's the funny thing about life - not everything goes according to plan.

I spent a great deal of time with Mimi while growing up. 

Me with my Mimi
I grew up in this house. I played in the backyard outside of those windows. This woman saw me at my best - and at my worst. She was there on my wedding day, and when each one of my children were born. She was my Mimi. She will always be my Mimi ... and I miss her so much that it physically hurts.

In May of 2013, I lost Mimi to Alzheimer's. Her health had been declining for many years before hand, but the last couple of years were pretty rough. I wasn't there. I left in late 2008 when Steven's job took us to North Carolina. Mimi visited us there the following fall when my aunt and my mom brought her to the east coast for a visit. I saw her in early 2010 when the kids and I flew in with Steven who had a week long class he attended in February. At the end of 2011, I got to see her again when the four of us traveled back to Colorado for a ten day stay over Thanksgiving. A month later, Steven's job took us overseas to Germany. The next time I saw Mimi was at her funeral.

North Carolina in October, 2009
Mimi had four daughters. All of them took care of her in her last years of life. I wish I had been there, too, although Mom has told me many times that she's glad I didn't see the huge decline in Mimi. She's happy I still have the memory of Mimi when she wasn't in the throes of dementia and then Alzheimer's. 

I spoke to Mimi on the phone quite often. She knew it was me talking with her. She knew that we were in Germany, but in her head, we weren't in modern day Germany. We were in World War II Germany, and she was afraid for our safety. My son was eleven, but she thought he was still a baby, and, although Maya was almost fifteen, Mimi believed her to be much younger as well. She was always worried about us when we spoke, always telling me to be careful and to come back home where we'd be safe. 

The last time I talked to Mimi was on Mother's Day, just a couple of weeks before she passed away. It was a heartbreaking conversation. She was struggling with her words, and her speech was incredibly disjointed. When Mom got back on the phone, I burst into tears. The day continued to be a bad one for both she and Mimi, and it only declined from there.

If looks could resurrect instead of kill, I'd pull out all the photographs I have of this special woman. They would stretch a good long way, and I would stare at them until Mimi was standing in front of me again ... the Mimi I knew before Alzheimer's descended upon her. I would hug tightly to her, and I would never, ever let go.


In honor of Mimi, (otherwise known as Lola) my family and I take part in the Walk to Stop Alzheimer's Race every year. If you are interested in taking a look at our team's page, please click here: Lola's Lions