Back in January, I quit my job as CMO and CTO to do some traveling and start my own business.
The first stop in my travels was Chile—an opportunity to be with loved ones for an extended period, spending time with Mom and Grandma as the chief priority.
As expected, Granny (abuelita) stole the show.
At 95, Granny’s memory fails her more often than it serves her, a struggle she—mostly unsuccessfully—tries to conceal. But also something I found fascinating and endearing.
When I first saw her, she pretended she remembered me. Asking questions about the children and wife I don’t have and making references that were mostly guesses—a fantasy I was happy to indulge in, for that seemed like the gentler thing to do. Soon, however, we’d find our way back to our rightful place in each other’s heart.
During my stay, we shared the same bedroom. Before long, she’d refuse to go to bed unless I joined her:
“I’m scared to sleep on my own; don’t you want to come to bed? Aren’t you sleepy?” A not-so-subtle request that filled me with pride and joy.
The minutes (sometimes hours) before falling asleep were the best. We’d reminisce about close and distant family members, she’d ask about everyone (real and imaginative), with frequent interruptions to check that I had my blanket and my pillow. “Yes, abuelita, I’ve got a blanket”, I’d repeat five or ten times each night, being careful of not sounding irritated by the recurring question.
After two or three days, pretending didn’t feel as necessary. She’d admit her memory’s failings and ask blunt questions about the past. As I answered them, I sensed that her emotions were light but mixed: the satisfaction of having created a large and loving family; the frustrations of not being able to relive the sweet memories of its creation.
Overall, however, it seemed to me that she enjoyed our little time together as much as I did, and that she knew that even though she did not remember every meal she made me, every time she held my hand across the street or tucked me into bed, or even whose child I was, she was someone special in my life and I in hers, and we were blessed to be spending this time together.
I’d been searching for a name for my new business since I left for my trip, Granny was the answer: Paula
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