Up to the age of 17, I had only known my maternal grandmother to be on bedrest. As a kid, I had always assumed she was paralyzed. In actuality, it was due to an injury. My grandmother, Mama, had a tumor on her spine. Doctors were able to remove it but she was told she would never walk again. A few years later, a physician examined her and revealed that she had enough muscle mass to walk again. Immediately she was placed in physical therapy and learned to walk using canes and leg braces. One day, after coming out of the bathroom, my grandmother fell. Because of the braces, she could not break her fall. Her bones were shattered. Ultimately putting her back in bed. I often wonder what it was like for her to be home, in her room, in her bed as the rest of the world literally moved along. What it was like to be confined to the same space.
I would tell my mother that when I grew up I was going to get a van, or a truck, capable of taking Mama to South Carolina. That was her home state, and she hadn’t been there in years. I wanted her out of her room. Out of Baltimore. As a child, I didn’t have the mindset to ask my grandmother, then, all of the questions I had after she passed. What did you like to do as a kid? Did you have a favorite place to go? What was it like growing up in the south during the 40s and 50s? What were you thinking when you found out you would not be able to walk again? I never quite figured out how I would ask that last one.
It’s strange; all of the questions that come to mind when someone you love is no longer in your life. It has been over 14 years since my grandmother passed, and I still come up with new questions. When was the last time, if any time, that you had ice cream in the sun? Now, that question may seem a bit off. Some may think, “That’s not very profound or deep.” However, that’s because many of us have never had to think twice about a moment that simple. At any time, be it in the spring or summer, many of us can simply open our doors, have a seat on the porch, or steps, or swing, and know what that cool sensation feels like. For a person that does not, or did not have that ability, thinking back on the last time he or she ate ice cream in the sun is profound. It is deep. And I wish it were possible for my grandmother to have experienced that moment just one more time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Latanya Muhammad is an educator, group facilitator, and 100% a wife and mom. If you would like to read more of her posts visit www.shetanagain.com. And if you want to weigh in on the action? Feel free to direct all feedback and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya'!