Thursday, November 12, 2015

Remembrance Day

When my grandfather forgot my grandmother
She never stopped remembering him.

When he forgot he had a bride,
She kept her vows for better or for worse.

Love does that.

Love remembers even when ...

The man, who always wanted to hold her,
Morphed into the man 
who wanted to be far away from her

And she remembered whom he was beneath the surface of unraveling memories.

Like Penelope
She wove the fraying threads of logic
Over and over again
Into a beautiful tapestry
Of tear-stained prayers
To stay her through the storm
To keep the missing at bay

She was determined to love my grandfather 
in the same way 
he would love her 
if his mind were intact and the 
tables were reversed.

I learned so much she didn't know she was teaching me.

I learned what it means to love someone through anything, 
even when 
they can't love you back.

I learned how you remember enough for the two of you 
to hold things together, 
even when only one of you 
is in your right mind and 
doing most of the work.

I learned how to see what true love is, made plainly visible in one million concrete ways
 how love looks past what things look like on the surface 
to what can only be known 
heart to heart.

I learned only Jesus 
Can enable and empower love like that.

--------------
One day, so deep in that dreadful disease that he was primarily silent and 
rarely moved the slightest...

One day after so many days 
when his voice had been grating 
instead of grateful...

One day after the same hands (that had only ever before this disease
reached for my grandmother tenderly) stopped striving to lash out at her...

One day after many days 
where his eyes had searched 
my grandmother's face 
in anger or confusion, 
with the perpetual looks of either, 
"Who are you?" Or
"Stay away!"

For one fraction of one glorious day
God's love and grace exponentially surrounded us.
He remembered her
At a time all of his memories
Of her 
 whom she truly was to him
Should have faded forever away

The hands reached out in gentleness

The eyes brimmed full with affection.

The lips parted to ask for a kiss and 
to tell her,
 "You're my wife... I love you."  

Only once and near the end
But fully remembering what once he always knew.

And there is power in being remembered well and being loved 
completely 
for it.

even when love came and left 

Before it flew back home to stay.


Angela M. Byrd 
Copyright 2015


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