I spent some time in a hospital ICU ward this week. Not the place I expected to be on Monday night when I woke up Monday morning. My role was that of visitor. Comforter. Remember-er of times past with more joy and laughter.
My grandmother has lived a long life. There are incredible memories of summers spent with her and my grandfather in Macon, Georgia. A trip to the space museum in Huntsville, AL. A tour of the Bluebird bus factory - I rode one of their buses to Catholic school as a child. Even a lookeeloo around a cigarette factory. Weird I know but it was their way of keeping my moving, exploring, learning.
I recall times when I was not a stellar grandson. That visit while in college was not great. I wanted to be anywhere but with them at the time. At this moment I feel like an ass in that memory. That may be where the distance began to grow. But are relationships ever the saw as we move from childhood to adulthood.
Then there was the Christmas Eve mass. I won't go into the details but my grandmother made a statement that caused great offense in my heart. I resented those words for a long time. I convinced myself that I did not love her the same way I did as a child, her only grandchild.
Several years passed before I gained perspective on her words and the significance of her statement. What I chose to ignore in the moment I embrace now. Oftentimes my feelings of worth or value are based in misunderstanding. There was no malice in what she said. I wish I recognized that at the time.
As I said my goodbyes yesterday I considered forgiving her. Then I realized I am the one in need of forgiveness. My heart was hardened to her love, to the joy that she obviously felt for me and my daughters.
Days will come when we are forced to say goodbye. Don't be afraid. Don't avoid the moment. Express your love and appreciation and heartfelt thanks for what the special people bring into your life. I am forever thankful for my time with her this week. I am thankful she knew I was there - to feel my love, my warmth, my embrace. We don't always get that opportunity.
*Update - My grandmother was moved to hospice care. Thank you for all the prays, well wishes and expressions of concern.