Maria and I were in Oregon. When not at Grandmother's side, or walking the neighborhood in old Albany, I was taking pictures of pictures... dozens and dozens, snapshots, instants in time. Some so familiar they feel like memories of my own, but I know that it's only the attachment of seeing the images, again and again, through my life, that makes them seem that way. Grandparents, great, and greater, the bisabuelos, tatarabuelos, primos, tias, tios, gazing back at me, and I discern stories, snippets of cuentos, historias, fragmented, whispering.
What makes some memories so clear, so focused, and others, like old photographs, faded, blurred?
During our vigil, all we could do was be present and attentive, waiting, and recalling. While we were with her, I was thankful to be occupied, to try and meet her needs. Now, since we left, there is only the waiting, and remembering. I wish I could gather every memory, with all of my senses, whole, complete stories. I wish there were more photographs, more details, more time. I used to think that regrets were because of things left unsaid, or something missing in the quality of time spent together. I don't have actual regrets, and yet... loving her as much as I do, having been loved by her, I cannot imagine missing that in my life, I cannot fathom a life without more of the blessings I've enjoyed so much of. I am sad to realize that even being "prepared" is insufficient in the face of such loss.
My Mommy says Maria and I had a "golden moment" with her, with Eunice... we did, I see that. And I see, with humility and awe, with a bittersweetness and gratitude... that all of my life with her has been, and all of my memories of Grandmother are, golden. She has made my life blessed. She is surrounded, now, close at hand, and in spirit, by all of us who know and love her, and she is blessed, too.