This picture was taken on May 14, 2016. My grandmother was 98 years old at the time and I had just celebrated a huge accomplishment in obtaining my Bachelors degree in addition to being the top student: valedictorian. I cannot tell you who was prouder in that moment because the support that I have received from Annie Mae Mack has always been unconditional. She may not have been the financially sound one but she was the emotionally rich one on so many different levels.
In this picture there are three generations represented here. My daughter, Lorynne, is in the background, photobombing the picture. The depth of our lives are enriched by the constant interaction of multiple generations. This is the case in my grandmother’s home and I find that it enriches the lives of all those that intermingle with such wisdom from longevity. We have and continue to learn about life from those that have lived the most.
Annie Mae will be 100 years old soon. This is NO small accomplishment and she is taking it in stride. Her face lights up when she thinks, talks about, and plans her wardrobe for her upcoming 100 birthday party. The other day she talked about getting her eyebrows arched in addition to her mani-pedi. Well, you can be vain at 90+ years old. Live! Enjoy life! Pamper yourself!
So, I prep her to be thinking about the interview questions I will be asking when the camera crew arrives next week. She sometimes pretends that she cannot share the past with us. Sometimes I have to pry it out of her. But when she speaks, the clarity in remembering makes me wish and regret that I did not start asking questions sooner. Though there is clarity, there is also forgetfulness. Even I have forgotten things that happen and that loss fades with the wind.
I’m grateful for this time that we are spending together and the opportunity to immortalize these experiences even if they aren’t complete but they are recorded. Her wisdom, charm, love, kindness, and wit will not be wasted in faded memory. It will thrive in archives and breathe through the generations.
The questions that I hesitate to ask outright but drop a portion at a time with each encounter is: what are your thoughts behind those eyes? What do you think about every day that God continues to give you breath after you reach 90+ years old? How do you see the future? What are your dreams for yourself? What’s your purpose? Is it long term or daily?
Alas, these are questions that we ask or should ask ourselves but I’m curious to know how they see the world they live in and why this opportunity is squandered.