He sat in his corner room, smiling at the collage of family pictures hanging above his dresser. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were pieced together like a picture quilt. A legacy in a frame.
“That’s a nice picture,” he said from his armchair.
I sat on his bed and looked at the collage. A torrent of tears made a river of my mascara. My voice twisted in my throat like a wet dishrag.
“I’m so sorry, Grandpa. I would have liked to have given you something for that picture.”
My grandfather’s shaking hand reached out to grasp my own. Dementia did not impede the Spirit of compassion. “I would have liked that, too.”
He wasn’t chiding. He was understanding. My loss was his own. We both cried.
“It hurts so much sometimes,” I admitted.
“It sure does.” His hand shook harder the harder he squeezed. “It’s just the way it is.”
We shared some private words meant only for grandfathers and granddaughters, and then we read a Psalm and a portion of the Gospel of Mark together.
I was still crying when I left his corner room, but I could clearly see my blessings.
I don’t have any children, but I have a grandpa. And he loves me.