When I was seven years old, Granny was 86.
Every afternoon she emerged from her screen door of the sun porch.
An elderly white woman whose loose skin fell from her bones. She wore a thin white gown over her hunched body. The grey bonnet on top of her head covered her thinning white hair.
Greeting me with open arms as the words,
“Now, give me my bear hug!” escaped her mouth,
As her nimble fingers gripped the shirt between my shoulder blades and pulled me in as if she hadn’t seen me in months.
Afterward, she grabbed my hand with hers and guided me through her house. From the sun porch to the powder dust hovering in the living room’s space, she sat me down in the kitchen. Extending her index finger to the floor tile, implying that I rest my backpack there, all while pulling out the wooden stool from underneath the table for me to sit on.
“Sit here and open your schoolbooks. I have to go take my medication.” She often said.
As I grew older, so did her Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
During my senior year of high school, Granny had an episode that placed her in a hospital for a few weeks. After school each day, I would visit the hospital she stayed in
My mother, along with nurses, would inform me of how violent she’s been in recent days.
With my backpack hanging from one shoulder, I entered the room she was in. Pulling aside the light blue curtain, I saw her loose skin fall from her face while stuffing it with crushed pieces of Lays potato chips; Her favorite. In her condition, she couldn’t leap out the bed, but her unmatched level of excitement didn’t go unnoticed when she saw me.
We spoke about her Alzheimer’s and Dementia. When she would leave the hospital. And the thoughts about death that she’s been having.
First, I was alarmed, but this has been a normal conversation for both of us since I was 9-years old.
Granny explained to me that she hadn’t feared death since she first had a heart attack in her 50’s and that being in a hospital at her age, you begin to think about life’s journey and the possibility of God calling your name to rise to the gates of heaven.
Fast forward five years, Granny is now 102 years old.
Still, guiding me to the kitchen from the sun porch as if it’s my first time being inside the house. Whatever bag I have, I leave on the floor tile as she drags the same wooden stool from underneath the table for me to sit on.
Her lips push the heavy wrinkles aside as she parts her lips to say,
“Now give me my bear hug.”
Dominic Wright is a graduate of Green Mountain College’s English department. Currently, he lives in New York City where he works as a freelance writer and a mentor to at-risk youth. His writing has been published in Moonchild Mag, Former Cactus magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Elixir. Twitter: @Domiipierre
Photo by James Garcia.