Last week, as I was leafing through one of my many books that I have started in the past but never finished, I noticed a letter stuffed in the middle of the book. The letter was in an envelope and there was a simple "Shawn" scribbled on the outside. Immediately recognizing the distinguishable handwriting, I eagerly pulled the letter out.
Sure enough, it was from my grandmother (who we call "Mimi") - my only living grandparent. The letter was dated August 26th, and though there was no year given, based on what she wrote, I know it was from 2001. I was just about to head to Scotland to serve as a Student Missionary for a year and she was sending me off with well wishes.
What is so significant about this letter is that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's the next summer. And now, seven years later, I am not sure if she really even recognizes me anymore when I see her. It has been a constant struggle for our family, of course (all of whom are very close), and it seems as though she gets worse and worse by the day.
I shared the letter with my mother this past weekend, when she was visiting for Mother's Day. Tears immediately came to her eyes. She informed me that she had not been able to find any letters from her mother. Quite obviously, reading something from her mother when she was still "with it" was highly significant.
I want to share that letter with you. It probably won't mean as much to anyone who reads it, but I hope you can still appreciate its significance. Particularly touching - especially in retrospect - is the last sentence of the first paragraph.
I cannot wait for the day when Mimi's memory will be turned on and she will fully be able to recognize and appreciate the company of all her family again - just as I cannot wait to see my grandfather alive very soon as well (and meet my other grandfather for the first time, alongside my grandmother who passed away nine years ago). May we all do all that we can to hasten that day.
(Click on the image below for a larger image)