Sunday, December 7, 2014

Song of the Morning

A Christmas morning like so many others. The pajama pack sat, each in their designated spots surrounded by their particular pile of presents. The mother was the only one not sitting, busying herself in the kitchen with pans of bacon and eggs, lending fragrance to an already warm scene.

Five mostly grown kids bantered back and forth while the grandfather, who was blind, sipped his first coffee carefully, using the tentative tip of his index finger to test the temperature of the steamy liquid. The oldest child, a wild and restless young man who hardly ever came home to visit, was playing his mother’s guitar and singing softly by the bay window. The porch wind chime, pealing its random carol, seemed to ding in time.

The boy’s grandmother came and sat beside him. Suffering the cruel confusion and ravaging agitation brought on by Alzheimer's Disease, the grandmother perched on the love seat by the sun-streamed window with her wiry and ginger-haired firstborn grandson. He turned slightly toward her, serenading her with his guitar.

Her agitation melted and she began singing along, oblivious to the fact that she did not have a clue about his song or its lyrics. No matter. Grandmother and grandson shared a moment -- an unexpected gift.

It was to be the gift of the year.

The grandmother passed away in her sleep one cold January night, a short month later, her departure catching everyone unawares. As her casket was guided down the church aisle by her five grandchildren, the oldest grandson broke away from his siblings and walked up the shallow marble steps to the lectern where his mother’s guitar waited. Pulling the strap over his head, he took a breath and sang to his grandmother, one last time.