I journeyed to Tampa last weekend with my mom and Price to visit with my Great Great Aunt – Aunt Gladys. She’s 87 and has lived through every medical hiccup imaginable in the later years of her life, including a stroke a few weeks ago. Now not able to eat, barley able to talk or move, and confined to her wheel chair and/or bed (and from one to the other via lift), we decided last minute to make a trip to visit her. Upon arriving, we found out she had won Bingo that day. Figures. Aunt Gladys ALWAYS wins games. She is the family Phase 10 champion.

Granny, Brian, Mom, Price and I visited her Saturday afternoon. We rolled her next to a couch and a few chairs in a common area outside of her room so we could all spend some time with her. Over a period of about 45 minutes, we told Aunt Gladys anything we could think of. I told her about our honeymoon (Aunt Gladys was a big traveler herself). The boys talked about school. Mom reminded us to say things S-L-O-W and LOUD (and sat right next to her). Granny held her hand and helped Aunt Gladys to understand what we were saying. Aunt Gladys sat in her wheelchair and just smiled. Big grins all over. Granny said that was the first time she’s seen her respond that way in a long while.

At some point during our visit, Aunt Gladys’s best friend Alma (I think I am spelling that right) arrived to say hello. They’ve been friends longer than I can imagine. Alma lives in the same building Aunt Gladys lives in, just in the apartment side (as opposed to the nursing unit). Alma is 90. Alma drives, she works on a horse farm, she’s involved on committee after committee at their building and in her church. The woman is L-I-V-I-N-G every last moment of her life. And she’s always there for Aunt Gladys. She had come down to let Aunt Gladys know that she had spoken with another one of their friends, who was having back issues due to cooler weather. Such the good friend she is. Alma and Aunt Gladys traveled the world together, mostly by cruise ship. I always loved hearing about their trips. Their lives have been adventures, that’s for sure.

I held my camera the entire visit. It was important to get photos of Aunt Gladys. I just loaded them to my computer and started to glance through quickly. I came across one image, and knew I had hit the jackpot. The continuous click-click-click during those 45 minutes (which probably annoyed Aunt Gladys to pieces) was worth all the money in the world.

Aunt Gladys is on the left. Alma is on the right.

This might be one of my favorite pictures ever.

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