It took me a very long time to realize that my grandmother was older than she appeared. For most of my life she was actively taking care of someone so when it came time for us to take full care of her, it almost came as a shock to me.
A couple of years before she got sick I started to paint my grandmother’s nails. It started as one of the only ways her and I could connect without disagreeing. As long as all I was using was pale pink nail polish we were good.
Over time those became my favorite moments spent with her. They were one on one. We joked around and those moments were ours.
Every time I looked at her hands they would remind me of just how much she lived. Her fingers were slightly crooked and her veins were on the surface. My grandmother tended to pride herself in how her face wasn’t wrinkled and her hair was free of gray hair, but her hands didn’t lie. She was old and that was an immense gift. She had lived through the deaths of a husband and daughter, worked to provide for her family and raised loving, generous souls.
I was reminded of all of this as I scrolled through Instagram and came to this National Geographic picture.
Image: National Geographic