“Where Have You Been?,” Liahona, Jan. 2023.
“Where have you been, my child?” my grandmother asked as she answered my knock on her door. I had just returned from a full-time mission to El Salvador. Grandma’s eyes brimmed with joy at seeing me again. Her arms felt soft and warm as she wrapped them around my neck.
We had a fun conversation as I answered her questions about my mission. I became emotional as I told her about the people, food, hard work, and miracles of my mission. After I had finished, she suddenly became quiet. Then she asked, “Where have you been, my child?”
Apparently, she wasn’t listening. So, we started our conversation again. Barely 20 minutes later, she asked for the third time, “Where have you been, my child?”
Something was wrong. I soon found out that about a year after I had left on my mission, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
I felt a great desire to help Grandma. For two years, I had preached the love God has for His children. Now I had an opportunity to live those teachings. Though I knew it would be difficult, I offered to move in with her so I could help her.
The first few months were the hardest. As in the mission field, having patience and controlling frustration became a full-time job. And as during my mission, I had to accept God’s timing and purposes as I learned to love my grandmother as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love her.
Living with Grandma is sometimes like living with three different people. Sometimes she cannot bear to have someone else in the house. Sometimes she wants my care and attention, happy she isn’t alone. Sometimes all she can think about is what to feed her grandson who just returned from his mission. “Don’t do that!” can quickly become “Why don’t you do that?”
My grandmother, nevertheless, has been a great blessing to me. I know that despite her illness, everything she does for me is because she loves me.
My grandmother’s sweetest and most sincere words come every time I return home from school or work. With a tender look, she hugs me, kisses my cheeks, and lovingly asks, “Where have you been, my child?”