Shortly after I was born, my mother's father passed away. I grew up only knowing three of my grandparents, and none of my great grandparents. I thought everyone was like me. Then I learned that other people actually got to have living great grandparents that they have actual memories with.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited that my baby would get to know, and make memories with all three of my living grandparents. It didn't work out this way. My grandmother on my mother's side entered into the ICU of a hospital. While I am grateful I can say we were able to drive up there to say our goodbyes, the only memory my first born has with her are photos that were taken during that visit.
She got to know my other two grandparents through frequent visits. Knowing that she only got one visit with my other grandmother prompted me to want to visit my other two grandparents as often as was possible. She was not yet two years old when my grandfather, her great grandfather, passed away. I was worried as to how she was going to react to seeing him at his viewing.
She managed to surprise me, as she continues to do, at his viewing. Rather than being sad, she said goodbye. There was a slideshow playing through photos of him in one area, while the casket was just inside the other room, with a doorway between. The doors were open. She looked at the photo of him on the slideshow, and pointed out that the guy in the pictures was her great grandpa, and the guy in the casket was her great grandpa.
She then asked my dad, her grandpa, to lift her up, where she was able to say goodbye to her great grandfather. It was a moment filled with learning for me. I was so excited that she actually got to know her great grandfather. While it was a sad moment, she was able to say goodbye to him. It was a memory that will stay with me forever, even though she doesn't remember it as clearly any more.
This brought us to her having one great grandparent, her great grandmother. I feel so blessed to have been able to have so many visits throughout the years with her. She was able to meet my husband, and all five of our children. There was definitely a strong bond between her and my first born, though.
While she wouldn't always remember who we were, and she would repeat herself a lot, in the later years, our eldest daughter exuded patience. She didn't get tired of listening to all the words her great grandmother had to share, whether they were being repeated or not. She loved singing along with her, and would sit up close by in the rocker to soak in every second she got to spend with her. I am happy they were able to form the relationship that they had with each other.
Also, I feel blessed to have counted every moment as an occasion to capture those memories in photographs. I highly recommend that everybody take the opportunity to capture as many photos as you are able. Your children grow up so fast, and you never know when you will be saying goodbye to a loved one. While, yes, we have the memories, and the stories, to go along with our photos, I love that we have the photos to remind us of those memories, and those stories.
Here are a few of the photos I was able to capture of my grandmother, along with one of the songs she had taught me to sing along with her at her organ.