My grandmother recently passed away. She lived to be 100 years old. In the final years of her life, she developed dementia. When I visited her last year, she had no idea who I was. Even after relatives repeatedly reintroduced me, she'd point towards my general direction and say in Taiwanese, "Who's that guy?" However, even at 100 years old, seated in a wheelchair, and with obvious dementia, to me she was wise, dignified, and strong. The pictures above were taken from that trip to Taiwan last year. It was the kids' first trip to Taiwan, and their only meeting they would have with their great grandmother.
I didn't know my grandmother very well. As a kid, I just thought she was old and rich. Whenever she would visit from Taiwan, she would pinch my cheeks and give me a red envelope with cash. I would try to speak to her in broken Taiwanese, but inevitably my communication would break down into a series of polite smiles. In college, I visited Taiwan and stayed with her on some weekends. I would try to be a good grandson and wash dishes, but she would complain that I didn't know what I was doing.
When Cassie was pregnant with Colin, my mom said she would like to help us out, but we were in New Jersey at the time and she was in Maryland. Cassie and I talked things over and we decided to pack our bags. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we've ever made. My mom has been there for my kids ever since the beginning. Because of this, Colin and Caiyla have developed a very close relationship with their grandmother, a kind of bond that admittedly, I never developed with my own grandmother.
It is all too easy to take these kinds of relationships for granted. Loss of family members or family holidays like Thanksgiving are good opportunities to pause, reflect, and be thankful for the family we have in our lives. Thanksgiving is also a great chance to invite family over and cook for them. Try making your family this paleo Thanksgiving stuffing. I'm sure grandmothers and grandkids alike will love it!