I know she is not the woman she was. She needs help to move from her bed to the couch. She lays on the couch eating chocolate ice cream and arguing with her care givers. Even pictures and stories of just a year ago, surprise me. After all, she was driving herself not so long ago. There are pictures of her at church just two Christmases ago.
The Grace I know always says hello. She always calls me by name. She always has a smile for me. I can tell that she was raised with a certain culture, a certain class. A class that she has passed on to her children. Sure she asks many of the same questions over and she asks me to repeat what I've said. She asks what I'm doing and where I'm going. She asks how I know Edie. Yes, we work together. I can tell Grace loves her by the way she smiles when she hears Edie's name.
The Grace I know has a sense of humor. She knows when I'm kidding. She says "get out of here," and smiles. Sometimes, though, she says "get out of here" when she has lost her patience. Like when she has lost her patience with the care giver for not understanding what she's saying.
Her eyesight is amazing. She can recognize me clear across the house. If she doesn't call to me, she waves.
I know the Grace I see and interact with is not the Grace her children and her grand children knew, but I see shadows of the past. I see the class and culture she has passed on, reflected in them. I see impeccable manners and a sense of humor. I see their heritage. And, believe it or not, I see an understanding and a love.