Spring is such a glorious time of year, yet this is a particularly difficult week for me to write. For once, I am at a near loss for words. My grandmother did not recognize me this week when I sat at her bedside and held her weathered, weakened hands in my own. I have spent my birthday with her each year for the past thirty-three Aprils. She has helped me blow out my candles, sung to me, kissed me, and wished me her traditional “lots of luck and happiness.” Each year, no matter where I lived, I spent my spring birthday with her. This week was no different, despite the fact I had brought her in to the emergency room a few days before, despite the fact that she now lay in the ICU, her piercing blue eyes unable to recognize my face.

When I think of spring, I remember running thought her vibrant green lawn in my new party dress, being scolded for climbing the rock wall that ran along side her house, swinging on the front gate when I thought she wasn’t looking. When I think of my grandmother, I think of spring: the sky the color of her eyes, magnolia blossoms the color of the dress she made for my eighth-grade graduation, white clouds the color of her soft hair.

I noticed one of her nurses had written “Tuesday, April 14th” on the message board at the foot of her bed. Before I left, I pointed to the date. “Grandmom, do you know what today is?” I asked. The pain and exhaustion that clouded her eyes floated away long enough for her to turn and whisper, “it’s your birthday.”