My 79-year-old grandmother, Diane Thrift, has been suffering from a number of disorders and diseases. Most of all, because of an autoimmune disorder called myasthenia gravis, she …
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Hugs for my grandmother
By Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
My 79-year-old grandmother, Diane Thrift, has been suffering from a number of disorders and diseases. Most of all, because of an autoimmune disorder called myasthenia gravis, she gets weaker and weaker by the day.
Last year, I was lucky enough to receive two tickets to the Okeechobee Music Festival. A few days later, I spoke to my grandmother over the phone and she started gushing over the music festival. She told me she’s always wanted to go and how she once went to Woodstock and would love to experience something like that again before she dies. It was on her bucket list, she told me. I then asked her if she wanted me to take her. She was a little confused for a second, but when I explained I had two wristbands, her confusion turned to disbelief, then to utter joy. She started crying and told me she wanted to make a sign to put on her walker.
A few days down the road, I helped her make a sign out of poster board that said “Free Hugs” in large glittery letters, then at the bottom it said “I remember Woodstock.” We attached it to her walker, put her in a hat which we wrote “MG Warrior” on, and we were set. She couldn’t contain her excitement.
We arrived and we were immediately bombarded with young music festivalgoers wanting to hug my grandmother. I tried to capture each moment with my camera, but sometimes there were so many, I couldn’t catch them all. We walked around for hours, resting here and there, enjoying the sights. My grandmother soaked up all the positive attention like a sponge. I hadn’t seen her this happy in a long time. Hug after hug, she was glowing. Everyone loved her. Sometimes she would stop and converse with the young folks for a bit, and it was almost as if she was infused with their youth.
Toward the end, we stopped at the one stage that had a band. She wanted to see Snoop Dogg, but didn’t want to go at night. At the time, the band Magic! was playing, and she told me she didn’t know who they were. I sang one of their songs that played on the radio quite often, and she exclaimed like an excited teenager, “Oh! I know them!”
One tired grandma and 185 hugs and photos later, we headed home. She couldn’t stop thanking me as she looked through all the pictures on my camera.
Last month was her 79th birthday and, as a gift, I made a little collage with some of the best photos we took with the wristband glued to the frame. She absolutely loved it, and it brought back all those wonderful memories.