When she was in her eighties a lifetime of health problems finally caught up with my Grandmother and forced her into a nursing home. It was a difficult time for us all. I had grown up in her home as a child and lived just across the road from her as an adult. It was hard seeing her then losing weight and confined to a wheelchair. Still, we adjusted. My children and I would load up the car every Saturday for the 25 mile trip to visit her. She always had a tender hug and loving kiss waiting for us. The nurses there fell in love with her too. Her loving but feisty spirit touched them all. She made them laugh and smile and sometimes even taught them a few choice words of Italian that they didnít need to know. I can remember the whole family gathering to celebrate her 90th birthday in that nursing home cafeteria. The entire room was filled with love.

In the last few years of her life, however, my Grandmaís mind started to fail her as well. Sometimes she would know us when we visited her and sometimes she would not. As she got worse and worse I would often just sit with her and hold her hand. Words were no longer needed. Her body may have given out and her memory may have left her, but in those moments I felt connected to her soul. I knew that her spirit would soon pass from this world, but I also knew that the love we had shared would live on in my heart always.

Even now years after her death I still feel that connection. I still feel that love. It reminds me everyday that we are all one family in this world. We are all Children of God. We are all here to love each other, to help each other, and to grow in oneness with each other. We are here to build bridges to each otherís hearts and to find connections to each otherís souls. Donít be afraid to love others then. Donít be afraid to share your life with them. Yes, you may suffer pain and even loss. But as my Grandma taught me so well, the love you share will live on forever.

Joseph J. Mazzella [email protected]

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