On Saturday, The Barry's celebrated a beauty born in 1924. My sweet Marry Barry, what a milestone! My mom brought a corsage, a cake, and some humorous napkins. We arrived a little early to get grandma ready. My mom sat with her, combed her hair, and pinned on her honorary corsage. She loved when my mom combed her hair. She was like a child, just admiring and wanting more.
Jesse and Mary, my maternal grandparents, raised 8 accomplished children on their family farm in Shakopee Minnesota. They were married for nearly 50 years when my grandfather passed away in 1995.
Our family has been graced by this strong, caring, smart, and environmental woman. We all have so many memories of her. Really great ones. Before Alzheimer's, she cared for us. She had an unmeasureable amount of faith. She believed in life-long learning. She was my beautiful grandma Barry.
Now, she's tired. Her thin arm and fist holds her fragile face as she rests. She occasionally perks up and begs in a soft trembling voice, "tell me what to do." Watching this woman become engulfed by AD has been painful. My heart hurts. Like really hurts. My eyes burn from the tears I shed. Frankly, I am a mess. I think about what she is doing, who is caring for her, if they care for her. When I sit next to her, she takes my hands while telling me how wonderful they feel and that they will now warm hers. A regular conversation begins with her telling me, "You are so pretty." "I wish I was as pretty as you." Then, I tear up. "You have beautiful blue eyes." Oh sweet grandma, you have beautiful blue eyes. You are the reason I have mine. I don't think she even notices that I am weeping. She just continues with, "You are so pretty." This is hard. It is equally hard to type. I really believe she understands that I miss her. I believe because she looks deep into my eyes and I really feel her with me. I try not to blink because I don't want to miss one second of this soul hug we share. With each visit, we become friends all over again. On Saturday after the party and all of our family left, I sat with her. I held her hands and I really studied her features. She is so lovely. While I did this, she pulled on my arm and held me close. I looked deep into her clear blue eyes and she stared back into mine. I cried. I cried really hard. Then, for just a moment, she turned her head slightly to the left and really looked at me. I believe, in that moment, she remembered that she was mine. I believe she knew I was hers. I believe because she clenched me so tight and said, "I love you."
For my family and friends who love Mary, I invite you to her 90th party! Click here.