Everybody has a story: Grandma’s life grew more exciting as her memory aged

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My Swedish grandma enjoyed a wonderfully long life. She died in 1973 at the age of 102, and we all miss her still.

She never completely lost her accent, her wonderful sense of humor nor her connection with her Maker, but during those final years the brain occasionally played little tricks.

On her 100th birthday, the White House was notified and she received a congratulatory card from President Richard Nixon. Grandma’s beginning-to-fail mind took the truth of that message and expanded it into specific memories of years of friendship with the first couple.

As we heard, “When I was in California,” a state she had never visited, and “I remember when Dick and Pat were first married,” we hid our smiles and enjoyed her reminiscing.

The story I most cherished was the one she told during my last visit to the nursing home where she spent her final four or five years. I had just entered the room when she asked if I’d heard about the day her heart had stopped. She went on to tell me she’d been resting in bed one afternoon when her heart stopped beating. She said she became quite concerned and tried to find a nurse to help.

“And I called and called. I guess they were busy or couldn’t hear me. So I finally had to just get out of bed and go down the hall to get someone,” she said.

I managed to commiserate properly, but never have I so enjoyed the report of a medical emergency.

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