A Great-Grandmother’s Gift

Carol A. Hand

When my grandson, Aadi, was 7 years old, we went with his mother to visit his great-grandmother, Norma. Norma, my mother, was living in a home with other elders who needed attendants and nurses to provide care because she could no longer take care of herself. She had developed Alzheimer’s disease, an illness that caused her to lose her memories, her ability to communicate with others, and her ability to meet her own basic needs.

Speech was difficult for her, and when she did speak, her words rarely made sense – they often seemed to be bits and pieces from other distant times. Aadi’s mom, Jnana, was so kind and gentle with her grandmother, and so patient. Aadi was also gentle with his great-grandmother. He sat at her feet, carefully holding her fragile, wrinkled hand. I knelt down next to Aadi, and said to my mother, “This is your great grandson, Aadi.” My mother looked at me and said, “Aadi.” I smiled and then looked at Aadi and asked, “Did you hear her? She said your name!” Aadi shook his head, “no.” Then, my mother looked at Aadi, and then at me, and said, “He’s a good boy.” I asked Aadi if he heard this. This time, Aadi shook his head, “yes.”

Perhaps Aadi does not realize how magical this gift really was. Somehow in the later stages of a disease that robbed his great-grandmother of her language and the ability to communicate, she was able to show how special he was to her. She was able to say his name and tell him that he was a good boy.

Aadi’s great-grandmother made important contributions in her long life. She traveled many places and met people from many different walks of life. She was always a good judge of character. And somehow, because of her ability to see beneath the surface appearance of things, and because of the strength of her love, she was able to find words to tell her great grandson, Aadi, how special he is.

Norma and Aadi

Photo Credit: Norma, Aadi (3 months old), and Carol

And, Aadi is, indeed, good, although he is now a good, handsome, young man.


Aadi 7

Photo Credit: Aadi (7)



aadi ava ahma 2010

Photo Credit: Aadi, Ava, and Ahma (2010)



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