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It may have been a grey December day like this one, but I don’t remember. It must have been cold because I was wearing my bright red scarf. Did I buy the scarf or was it a gift? I don’t remember. I may have chosen it, although I generally avoid wearing red. It had a luxurious softness that I do remember because on an otherwise unmemorable day, I wore it to visit my grandmother.
She was sitting alone in her room. I remember that she didn’t say hello. She didn’t say anything at all. She didn’t smile, and she didn’t rise to greet me. When I leaned over to hug her, she felt my scarf. She stroked my scarf like an intrigued infant with a new, soft toy that she did not want to give back. Its gentle texture and pleasing bright color held her attention. Or was it that she was trying to acknowledge me?
Later, the nurse noted how calm she had been for the rest of the day. Was she comforted by the scarf, or perhaps she was soothed by my small gesture of affection. Or was it recognition? Even if she couldn’t show it, did she still remember me?
That may have been the last time I saw her alive, but I don’t remember. I remember the scarf and that moment when the woman who cuddled me throughout childhood, who knitted blankets for her family, who rooted tirelessly for the Chicago Cubs, and who held hands with her husband after 54 years of marriage, seemed incapable of remembering me.Published in