A granddaughter’s pride

A Granddaughter’s Pride

Just a week ago I experienced one of those moments that go beyond pure emotion. One of those unique moments which reconcile you to life and which close a circle, which make you experience and FEEL beauty… which is ultimately nothing more than magic condensed down into one single instant.

That day I got up with a burning desire to see my granddad after having written about him in my blog.  I needed to see him, to tell him about it.  I thought that the dementia he suffered from would probably prevent him from understanding me, but I still hoped for some magic.  My grandfather had lost practically all of his faculties, but there is something remaining of his personality that simply refuses to disappear: tenderness. As soon as he sees you, my granddad grabs you by the hands and covers them in kisses.  My granddad hugs you with such strength that his whole body trembles, almost suffocating, as if he wouldn’t mind dying this way. My granddad cries from pure emotion, from infinite love, when he takes your face between his hands and mumbles “I love you”.  My grandfather… who can now barely speak, but neither does he need to.

That day, life decided to reward me with one the very few vestiges of his lucidity.  I knew it from the way he looked at me.  He lifted his eyebrows, nodded and grabbed my hands, so I showed him the blog on my mobile, with the photo I had published of him. He let go of my hands, held the mobile in his own trembling ones and his eyes filled with tears as he recognised himself.  I explained that I had written about him, about all the things he had taught me, his eternal support and his unconditional love. I asked him if he wanted me to read him the post, and he nodded, returning the mobile to me and once again holding my hand.

I read it to him, into his ear.  In full.  I don’t think I have ever read anything with such emotion, intensity and respect, nor felt so proud of writing. My grandfather pressed my hand at every inflection… and towards the end he collapsed into a flood of tears, which dropped one by one onto my hands. I managed to suppress the lump in my throat and the unbearable urge to cry, held tight in his arms, erasing the hurt of these past years, but when I finished reading, I broke down.  We hugged each other, crying, and then he grabbed my face between his hands and whispered: “My angel“. As always.  Between tears I thanked him for everything, I told him that I loved him with all my heart, that it was impossible for anyone to feel prouder, and that if life allowed us to repeat our time in this world I would be his granddaughter again a thousand times over. He tried to speak, unsuccessfully…. But the way he looked at me, the way he stroked my face, and pressed my hand… were the greatest and most clamorous manifestations of love and pride that one person can gift to another.

At that eternal moment, my husband arrived and took a photo of us.  I dried my tears and smiled from the bottom of my heart, feeling happy, complete… In that instant I projected love, I felt in harmony with the world, fortunate to have managed to capture the love of an entire lifetime in one sole instant.

This photo speaks of the pride of a granddaughter, of the apprentice who clings to the hands of her master and feels his strength despite his weakened body. It speaks of a type of love that someone should treasure for all of their life.  Be thankful for it.  And enjoy it…. until the very last breath.This photo speaks of a love that grows and strengthens over time, a pure love, a love that understands neither ages nor frontiers, which is beyond life and death; a timeless love, eternal, that type of love that doesnt need words, that can be expressed simply through glances, caresses and simple knowing gestures. The love that my grandfather and I have always professed to each other… and which last Saturday burst forth despite the devastating effects of his dementia and the distressing and inexorable progress of a goodbye that we are all destined to EXPERIENCE.