True Love… I Wonder If He Knew I Looked Up Into His Sightless Eyes To ‘See’….
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
They sat there in their chairs… Grandma Alma sat in her old upholstered recliner… it rocked. George had a chair that always sat beside her chair. Day in, day out… this was their place to sit, side by side… for many, many years.
Grandma Alma was paralyzed. When she walked, one of her arms would hang to her side while one leg dragged. She’d walk holding onto her walker with her good hand. I look back in my mind.. I can see her walking, her face smiling at me. I can ‘see’ the twinkle in her eyes… a glow about her face.
George was Grandma Alma’s second husband. He was the only grandfather I ever knew in my life. I loved him with my little girl heart. He could be loud sometimes, that was his way. George would ‘holler’ when he felt pain, or became upset. He could … holler good!
Every morning, George would cook (yes, George cooked and he was blind) Grandma Alma’s breakfast. Sometimes he’d burn his fingers and I would hear him … he could sure holler loud! He would say a ‘dirty’ word… I would laugh because George could be funny.
I would feel sad, too… George got hurt sometimes. It would touch my heart.. I would tilt my head to the side, and look up into his face… sometimes I saw… tears in his eyes, his sightless eyes. It did something to my little girl heart.
George would wash the dishes, I’d try to help in my little girl way. When he got through, he’d get a pan of hot water, add cold water to make it lukewarm… take it to Grandma Alma. She’d take her bath with her good hand. I would hand things to her if she asked.
George would take the pan of water to the back door, toss it out. Sometimes, I would laugh so much… one of my cousins could be coming to the back door as he tossed the water out! He didn’t see them! It was bound to happen ‘sooner or later!’
Grandma Alma would dress while he was emptying the water. I would help her all I could. George would come back to sit in his old, cane-bottomed chair to ‘rub Grandma Alma up’… he did this faithfully every day for twenty-some years.
George would begin with Grandma Alma’s right leg… he would rub it with alcohol. He would massage her leg, and put it through range-of-motion exercises as he rubbed her leg. When he finished, he would rub Beauty Ray lotion into her skin to keep it soft, supple.
George would rub Grandma Alma’s right arm, hand. His fingers would work her skin gently as he rubbed alcohol on it, put it through range-of-motion exercises. He’d rubbed Beauty Ray lotion on her arm.
Grandma Alma’s left leg, left arm was ‘rubbed up’ next. Each was given range-of-motion exercises. Every day this was done several times a day. Faithfully George would ‘rub Grandma Alma up’….
Grandma Alma had the smoothest, softest skin. Her facial skin never aged with wrinkles… it was as smooth as a young girl’s. She stayed inside all those years, also… so, sun didn’t damage her skin.
If Grandma Alma could have been made to walk…. George’s love would have done it all those years of rubbing her body up in alcohol, Beauty Ray lotion, doing all those range of motion exercises faithfully several times a day.
She never regained her ability to walk, run, to work in her flowers. She did use her one ‘good hand’ to touch a grandchild, to reassure it, to pull that grandchild to her bosom to hug them. I remember… Grandma Alma got tears in her eyes, too.
Grandma Alma, George…. true love if I ever saw it. No… their love wasn’t full of glamorous things, lots of money, beautiful clothes, cars, people. Their special love was in a world of being severely handicapped, being blind… paralyzed.
Their special love was in a home built over hell… all hell broke out around them in the arena at any moment. This was where all the fights were held for their entertainment…. no, they weren’t entertained at all… they just didn’t have a choice in the matter. I saw tears in their eyes.
Their love was in filth, poverty, no frills, no thrills… no luxuries ever.
No one did anything for them without ‘raising hell’ first, anger, cursing about ‘who is going to do this or that for them?’ They never minded asking Grandma Alma, George for their last cent though.
Grandma Alma, George didn’t ‘cuss about it first’, though. They gave with a free heart… oh, how I loved my Grandma Alma, George.
In their world of love… there were roaches, rats, spiders… and (don’t laugh… I had a deadly fear of them with their fat little human-like bodies, eyes)…. kid-diddle hoppers! These things would jump out, fall on a little girl, terrifying her so, that she’d tiptoe, walk quietly to the kitchen, bathroom. Everyday she lived with fear of some kind there…. from those scary things, people who needed someone to take anger out on…
Their house was scary…. the ‘old homeplace’ was the house from hell… built over hell. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘this was the old homeplace as if it were a special place’… I know ‘why’ they do that… they just want to find some place in their young life to be ‘as nice as anyone else’s’. It looks nice today… but, something’s not right about that old house… bad things still happen there.
I walked to the door of that old house one day in the last two years… I stood there looking in… I felt my breath stop, my heart felt afraid… I had to walk away… I couldn’t enter it. It affected me for several days… at this moment I ‘feel’ it, while writing about it.
They don’t think anyone else remembers…. they were there as a ‘great’ grandchild… already a generation of grandchildren had been there, known hell… as little children. Some were ‘their’ parents… no, they just don’t know.
I can say this… you hear people say it’s important to give a child a solid foundation to build its life from, to go in life from….. that was my foundation such as it was… but, I know that’s why also, I’m still ‘standing’ today. So, it must have been a ‘damn good one’…….
Hell ‘raised’ me… it gave me the strength I needed for my life… so many bad things have happened… but, I’m on this side of it all now. I’m thankful to have turned out to be a good person because ‘in hell’ I didn’t see many ‘good’ things. I could have been a ‘bad girl’……………… in more ways than one. I knew how to be….
I just didn’t choose to go down a lot of paths I started down… curiosity led me toward things in life I found out that I didn’t want any part of. I ran back the way I came, getting delayed, lost on the way out… but, I didn’t give up until… I was back to ‘good’.
I don’t like bad things though…. in this life I’ve learned that ‘it takes bad sometimes’ to make ‘good things happen’. Sometimes… it takes ‘bad people’ to do good things… because they aren’t afraid to take up for the underdog, and such as that. We need ‘bad’ along with ‘good.
Getting back to true love… Grandma Alma and George sitting there in those old chairs with ‘hell all around them’, punishing them every day of their life, demons performing in the arena constantly, shrieking.. screaming.. fighting, flesh on flesh, pounding each other, blood… pure raw anger, hate, blackmail.
Doesn’t it sound like a ‘war zone’ with debris falling all around… while they sit in a little bubble? Only in their little bubble… all affected them. I wonder what in the world they did so bad to have deserved all life threw at them? I don’t think they deserved such bad things…
True love… that’s what held Grandma Alma, and George together against the whole world. They suffered so much… I only remember very few moments of peace of mind for them… I always looked up into George’s eyes to see if he was happy, into Grandma Alma’s eyes to see. Most of the time I saw … stress, upset, tears. I would then, ‘feel’ it in my heart… my eyes would burn with tears… I didn’t know ‘why’…. every time.
It was Heaven when I saw them smile… I loved it when I saw them….. ‘them’ smiling at each other, gently teasing the other over some silly thing. I loved hearing them talk with each other, instead of being upset. When this little girl lived with them in hell… she saw …true love.
How wonderful their love must have been for you to see it in hell.
I was so close to them so, I could see it… I don’t think anyone else ever thought to… look.
A wonderful love story and it’s true .. isn’t that the love we all dream about – that last forever or even to the end of time. You have written in such beautiful way – I could see them !
You could see them! That’s special, Viveka!
It was all down to your writting and telling. *smile
Pingback: GRANNY'S COLORFUL
Pingback: Please Come Back… Please Don’t Go! | GRANNY'S COLORFUL
Pingback: That Damn Mouse Bit Me! | GRANNY'S COLORFUL
Poignant. Thank you for sharing
Pingback: Bringing Grandma Alma’s Memory Alive … For A Few Moments | GRANNY'S COLORFUL
Pingback: Grandma Alma Had Pinched Me Hard One Time Too Many! | GRANNY'S COLORFUL