This past weekend, I had my first one-on-one time with my grandmother (Momo), since my grandfather's passing in May.
Approaching her home, I was nervous.
I didn't know what to expect from my Momo. I didn't know if she was still overwhelmingly sad. I didn't know how I was going to handle seeing my grandfather's pictures on the wall. It was all emotionally scary. I wanted to be strong, but I had no idea what I was coming into.
As soon as I arrived, my fears began to soothe. Momo met me with the same smile and warmth she always had.
We went inside and talked, most of our conversation being about my grandfather (Popo).
She smiled when she spoke of him. She recalled memories of their past. For the first time in my life I found out that my Popo worked on several of the dorms at Texas Tech University, while my mother's entire family, lived in Lubbock, Tx. (#wreckem)
She began to uncover a story of a man, I now realize, I am beginning to just now fully know.
She misses him. I could tell it from her every word. The stories she told were none that I had ever heard of when he was alive, but her narrative was more beautiful than I could have ever expected them to be.
Momo is making it... as much as you can "make it" without your partner of nearly 60 years.
Even when she has the opportunity to become bitter, she recalls memories of her husband as if he were telling them through her. She is the reason he is so alive in the hearts of those who love him so... simply because she keeps his spirit alive. For that, I am forever grateful.
I asked her timidly, "Momo, will you take a picture with me?" (I have never valued a picture opportunity more.)
She walked to her bathroom, readjusted the clip in her hair, applied a light coat of lipstick, and asked for her sun hat and sunglasses to match my own.
"What do you want me to do?" She said matching my same initial timid tone. I asked her to sit next to me on the back porch.
"Just smile, Momo," I said.
The camera clicked and Momo was smiling right at me. It was a smile my memory will never allow me to forget.
Sometimes we forget we have reasons to smile and carry on, but even in our darkest times, those reasons are out there.