The Pilgrim Soul

    It can be very hard when someone you love is losing their memory, not to lose yours too. It’s easy to only see who they are in the moment, and not who they are really, which includes who they have been and who they will be.

    My Nanny is, has always been and will always be, one of my best friends.

    In my earliest memories, I remember being sung to by my parents, separately, in different songs. I remember being able to go down the loft stairs without touching the ground. But mostly, I remember Nanny.

     I remember going to sleep at my big country house and waking up in her little city one, waking up, beside her. I remember pulling her ears while she rocked and sang to me. She sang Hush Little Baby and All the Pretty Little Horses— that was my favorite: blacks and bays, dapples and grays. I remember a jewelry box. She was showing my sister the ballerina that spun on the surface of the lake inside, but I saw it too. I remember, later, her food. Oh the glorious food, heaps of it, all the day. I remember the coffee we would drink in bed. She showed me how to pour into my saucer to cool it down. I bet it spilt all over the sheets, but I don’t remember that. I remember riding in the back of her car, little and tan, like herself, and hearing her pray, “Lord, keep this precious cargo safe.” I remember the moment I realized, all goosebumped, that she was talking about me, about me to an invisible God.

    It was Nanny, I think, who gave me the name Sarie. It was Nanny who dressed me up and brushed my hair, one hundred strokes every morning, even when I looked like Alf. It was Nanny who could tell me tales of Indian Territory, the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, of an Okie girl who left home, suddenly, for California, married a kind, but unknown soldier and lived an average, but remarkable existence of fidelity to everything she was called to.

    It was Nanny and it continued to be Nanny for a very long time.

    Her mind is fragile now. The fault line gave way when that unknown soldier died. “I know people think I’m a hard person,” she said the other day. It’s not the forgetting that’s made her so, but the remembering that she has forgotten. It’s the fear of helplessness. But I remember who loved me when I was helpless. When I needed arms and songs and food and stories and time, all the time. I remember who remembered me.

     I remember Nanny.

B74C4E0D-D4FC-4FC8-968E-368EA4C9F0C9

 

4 thoughts on “The Pilgrim Soul

  1. “It can be very hard when someone you love is losing their memory, not to lose yours too. It’s easy to only see who they are in the moment, and not who they are really, which includes who they have been and who they will be.” That is a wonderful reminder as we walk this path with my own grandma! Some days it’s too easy just to think about how she seems now, and not to remember the old memories of times with her before she started to have dementia.

    Like

    1. Dementia is so hard. I’m glad you are there for your grandmother!
      I gave this piece to mine the other day and it meant a lot to her. She remembered much of it, and it is so life changing (for all of us, no matter the age!) to be treasured. Sometimes we only take the time to think of people in that way when they are dead.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s