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Watching someone you love grow old and slip away is painful. It seems special memories flood in at times and threaten to shift the precarious balance of reason and emotion at the worst possible moments.

As difficult as it has been for me as a granddaughter to see the changes in my grandmother these past few years, as dementia corrode her mind and body, I have been amazed at the strength and grace of my mother. Being that much closer to her, she has observed each change more keenly, and must feel the loss that much greater.

Last week, as I sat in the hospital, I watched my Mom. It will forever be one of those moments that took my breath away and if there is ever a time in my life when I am struggling to comprehend the depth and breadth of love, one for another, I will think of it. It was love and tenderness in its purest form; it captured my soul and I was transfixed. I felt like a voyeur, that I wasn’t worthy to share this beautiful, intimate moment.

As Nana’s tiny form lay swaddled in her hospital bed, her eyes drowsy, Mom simply stood by her. She stroked her hair; she kissed her forehead. When Nana looked at her, Mom simply smiled and spoke gently to her. It was enough – just to be present.

Tenderness. Peace. Trust. Devotion. Sacrifice.

We sing about it in bad country songs, and trumpet it in the tabloids, but in our fast-paced world, do we really understand what those words mean? Are we willing to take the time?  Do we understand what it costs?

We are waiting now, at peace knowing that she is in God’s Hands, soon to be in God’s presence.  I know it cost my Mom, but she will never regret the time spent.