This I Believe…
January 15, 2007
Shaky Hand, Steady Heart
Lying awake, unable to sleep at 3am, my grandmother realized that she did not hear the rhythmic, yet obnoxiously loud sound of my grandfather’s snoring. Slightly concerned, she inquired of the still body next to her, “Vince, what are you doing?” Instead of the seemingly expected response of “The same thing as you,” he replied, “I’m writing a poem.”
Since before I can remember, my grandfather has had a benign tremor on his right side. His hand gradually became shakier and shakier until his handwriting became completely illegible. We worried that the poet of our family, unable to record his writings, would be forced to resign from his honorary position, but on my grandmother’s eightieth birthday, my family learned that grandfather poet’s reign and his mode of expressing his feelings would not be subject to physical disability.
At my grandmother’s birthday party, my grandfather stood up in the front of a crowded room filled with family and friends, cleared his throat, and announced that he had written a poem that he wanted to present to his lovely wife. Much to our surprise, he did not reach for a small, carefully folded piece of paper in his pocket, as had been the custom in the past. Instead, he recited from memory a forty line perfectly rhymed poem chronicling their sixty year marriage and proclaiming his unwavering love for my grandmother. He had never written a single word of it down.
I have often heard my grandparents bicker over the details of a story they wish to tell and the names of places they’ve visited and various people they’ve met. Justifiably, they cannot remember numerous occurrences from their lengthy and full lives, which further proves the commonly held belief that the memory is one of the first things to go with age. But this I believe: I believe that when it comes to matters of the heart, the memory holds steadfast; love can recall any past event, and emotion is the strongest memory of all. Some may write it off as overly idealist, but I have witnessed first hand how the memory of love, even if it is at 3am, can conquer any physical obstacle
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