The sun was out and the snow was sparkling. When I looked up, the sky was a bright blue. It was the most beautiful day that I can remember.
December 24, 2007, was the last time that I saw my Nonno. He was living in a peaceful care home and had forgotten a lot of his life. Some days, when my dad would visit him he was his son, while other days, he was his brother. Some days they spoke English together, and others, Italian was all my Nonno could remember.
When we got to his room, I wasn't surprised that he didn't remember me. It wasn't even the fact that he didn't remember my name; it was how hard he was trying to remember my name that hit me the most. He smiled nonetheless and was his goofy self. He danced through the halls singing, "Tippy tippy tay" while carrying the presence of an eight year old.
I loved how silly he always was with my brother and me. He was so happy when we were around and when he was happy, we were happy.
Some time had passed and we were sitting at a table with the perfect view outside. My Nonno was enjoying our visit so much that it made me wish I had seen him more often. It was hard being his grandchild while he seemed to had lost all of our memories together, but I loved my Nonno so my knowledge of that was washed away. After finishing his favourite cookies (maple leaf cookies) he started digging into his pockets. Who knew what he was about to show us. Surprisingly, he took out a few pictures. All were torn at least in one spot, other than one. He studied this perfectly intact photo for a moment. You could see he was trying to make a connection and suddenly, the emotion in his face changed. His eyes widened and his smile doubled in size. He looked up and pushed the picture into the middle of the table. It had to be one of the most precious moments I've experienced when we recognized our own faces in that picture. He pointed to the picture, then to each of us. First my mom, then my brother, followed by me, and lastly, my dad. He remembered.
Seeing my Nonno's smile grow larger when his memory caught up with him was the best Christmas gift I could have ever asked for. My Nonno passed on the following year, and I wouldn't change a thing about our last day together. It was the day that he remembered and it was perfect.