I believe my grandmother’s sheets are sacred. I never lay on her bed because I feel dirty. I never jump on her bed because I feel heavy. I am the one to clean her sheets every Sunday and yet, I still feel unworthy.
My grandmother is 84 years old and has been diagnosed with Alzeimers disease about three years ago. She understands what’s going on but gets confused with names, days of the week, and what time it is. She calls me Patty because I look like someone she used to know, she tells me not to tell her when to go to bed, and says she is the boss. I go to my grandparent’s house almost every day and everyday I feel blessed. Most eighteen year olds are out enjoying graduation, however, I spend my time there. My grandpa is 84 years old, but can take care of himself, so when I’m over there I’m assisting my grandma. My grandma has been confined to a wheelchair for about three years and can no longer manage anything on her own. At 4:00 everyday, I put my grandma in a chair, roll her into the kitchen, and feed her. She hollers at me when I wait to long to put food in her mouth and I like that. I like the feeling of knowing I’m helping her and that she needs me. When it’s time to go to bed and she’s all tucked in, I always ask her about things she used to enjoy. She tells me about concerts, movies, and dates she went on with my grandpa and I appreciate every memory she shares with me even though it takes ten minutes for one full memory. I crack jokes to her to see her smile, but I know she’ll forget that we laughed. We talk about family, but I know she’ll forget who’s who. We talk about baking, but I know she forgot she was an excellent cook. I know a lot of things about her, but I know she forgets my name.
My grandma sleeps in a small, single bed. Her sheets wrap around her and embrace what God has let my family hold onto for more time than expected. Every night she falls asleep in these sheets with things I have yet to receive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.