Letter to a Sixteen-Year-Old

Sixteen. New Car. (Well…new to me…it was a beat up, barely running Ford Probe). Know-It-All.

I didn’t need anyone to tell me anything at 16, because I had finally arrived at the time in my life where I knew all the answers. While incredibly proud of me, I think my Grandma sensed a bit of stubborn (from her son, of course) and a bit of recklessness (she would end up coming to my aid many times as I tried to figure out how to be an adult). For at sixteen, my Grandma realized that more than ever what I needed was some encouragement and advice.

I recently came across a three-page letter, while I was cleaning out to make way for this new dream I’m chasing. To Erica…from Grandma - on my sixteenth birthday (the date was included but that doesn’t matter here!). I wept through page one as my Grandma recounted her most cherished memories of our times together. The detail of colors, events, and dialogue was so precise. She often remarked how happy it made her that I “wanted” to be with her (silly Grandma-where else would I want to be?!?!). Unlimited cokes, popcorn, Anne of Green Gables movies, and laughter, while we made cozy pallets on the floor.

As the late stages of Alzheimer’s sets in for my Grandma, Sarah, I’m so thankful for whatever compelled her to write a three-page letter to her granddaughter on her sixteenth birthday. I remember each detail exactly as she described, and I will have to find peace in knowing that my most treasured childhood memories were hers, too. For now, I’m sad…no…devastated that when she sees me she can’t recall that little girl eating all of her popcorn, the sixteen year old know-it-all, or the adult today who still loves her with everything (and would still have a sleepover to watch movies, laugh, and create a cozy pallet in the floor).


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  • Cindy B on

    This is beautiful. I am glad you are finding a way to share your Grandmother and express the pain of this kind of loss. Btw, I remember that car… Love you


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