My second home is my grandparent’s house in New Jersey. I call their house my second home because most of my happiest memories happened there with my family. We’ll drive from Indiana to the house and usually arrive very late at night when my grandparents are already asleep. The next morning I have somewhat a tradition of waking up late, so late that by the time I had finished breakfast my grandmother is already dressed and taking her nap. Sometime during that day I’ll catch my lovable grandma on the snug blue couch in the family room for one of our chats.
“Julia,” I’ll have heard my grandmother pronounce with her quiet voice.
“Yes grandma?” I would reply with a hint of disappointment in my voice.
“Julia dear, how are you?” she would ask with her innocent smile.
There appears nothing wrong with this conversation except for one minor problem. My name isn’t Julia, it’s Elisabeth. Julia actually is my older sister.
To put it bluntly, my grandmother is losing her memories. She is also often confused by, to me, the simplest things to understand. I know she remembers my face, yet, she can’t place the name to the face. She doesn’t have any sort of illness that affects her memory; she is simply getting older. She is 82 years old in fact. My mere 15 years of life is nothing compared to her superior 82. It’s also really hard for me to imagine how many memories she has made in her life since I’m not even a quarter her age, and I can hardly remember what happened last week. So, I completely understand and forgive her when she forgets something, like my name, because I forget things too.
Yet, I also get this feeling a lot that I came too late into her life. I mean, she was already 66 when I was born and most people that age start to sort of “lose it” mentally. But she wasn’t like that back then. See, she remembers everything about my sister Julia, who is nearly six years older than me, but not me because she was already so old when I was born. To me, it’s like my grandmother will remember me as an immature child but never as a responsible adult. She’ll remember my rude outbursts but never my graduation from high school and that really makes me sad.
But, there are times though when she is completely lucid and remembers everything.
“Elisabeth, darling,” My grandmother will say to me with her comforting brown eyes.
“Yes grandma,” I would reply back with an ecstatic smile.
“How, are you dear?” She’ll say back to me.
And that is how I know she remembers everything, and that in fact she never had forgotten who I was in the first place, she had simply misplaced the information somewhere. I know now that my grandmother will always remember who I am, no matter what age she is and that is why I believe memories are forever.