What I Learned

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Stephanie Parris, Virginia

It’s always hard to be with someone for up to 16 hours a day and just watch them whittle away and not be able to do anything to help. All you can do is just sit there and watch and pray that every day when you walk in those doors that they are having a good day.

I always start my day the same way. I walk in with a smile on my face and open up the blinds and prepare breakfast and in those moments there’s just something magical because for a split moment it’s like Ms. Lois is young and well and for a brief moment everything is calm.

Then reality hits and I think to myself this isn’t what I signed up for. She starts yelling and telling me to get out and that I'm trying to hurt her and in those times my heart just cries out for her because she is so lonely and scared.

Then you have the good times, the memories that are forever engraved in your soul. Ms. Lois taught me how to play skip bo (she even cheated me). She told me life is 10 percent of what happens and 90 percent how you handle it. The day before she passed was an enjoyable day for me.

Ms. Lois was awake and doing her normal routine. She ate a big bowl of homemade chicken pot pie, every bite of it. She picked up the book I had been reading her and picked up right where I had left off like nothing had ever happened to her and right then and there I learned how to love endlessly.

Her grandson has cerebral palsy and he would come visit her. She loved her family like no other. You see I was there for her final hours. She just laid there like her body was there, but she wasn’t and I just rubbed her face and sang to her. But you see for almost ten hours she said not one word, but with her final breath she called out her grandson’s name. I always thought I knew what love was but in those moments I realized the true meaning of a grandmother’s love.