Saturday, November 23, 2013

One Saturday Morning

Death is a strange thing. Processing death is weird. For one, it means you're alive and someone went before you. For some things in life, order doesn't matter. In this case, it kind of does. 

Some people process death with tears, others with laughter. Some with memories, some with action. Sometimes we look at pictures, other times we listen to stories. In fact, we all do these things, and everyone is on their own timeline, processing in their own way. I guess that means I am too.

Exactly 3 months ago I woke up on a Saturday morning. It was 3 weeks after we had laid my Grandma Avila to rest, and maybe I was thinking of that, and knowing that I still had a grandma living. Maybe it was a random thought, maybe it was divine inspiration, maybe God was giving me a gift.

When I woke up that morning, I had one strong thought, and that was: Call Grandma and take her to breakfast. I usually wake up groggy and scattered and cranky. But on certain days I open my eyes and I'm wide awake, I'm rested, and my thoughts are clear and crisp. And this was a very direct and loud message reverberating in my head - Call Grandma. Go to breakfast.

And I did. I was still in bed. I sat up and reached for my phone, and called. She was, I feel like, waiting for me to call. She was home, she had no plans. I suppose that it was supposed to happen.

I picked her up and we couldn't decide where to go, and I think it was Yelp who helped, but we eventually decided on Millie's Pancake House. She had been there before, but I hadn't.

It was just me and Grandma. Nothing else mattered in that moment. We talked. I told her stories, some I had already told her before. I just enjoyed every moment with her, I truly did.

Someone should learn to spell (from

I ate a huge meal, a huge plate of food, and she was proud I'm sure. She had potato pancakes and probably some tea. The ladies next to us took a picture when I asked, and commented how much they enjoyed hearing us talk and watching us together. I hadn't noticed, but they had been watching us. Just a few more people blessed by being around her.

Time stood still that morning. I knew it was special. I didn't know why, or when, but I knew I would remember that day.

We took our time, and usually I start getting antsy, in a rush, but this morning I wasn't. I wanted to extend our morning. We walked over to an art gallery nearby. We both commented on which ones we liked. She pointed out her friend Gretchen's paintings and told me she had a copy of one and pointed to a hummingbird. Every single one had a hummingbird, she said.

I took more pictures of her. I made her put her hand on her hip and pose.  We picked out a gift for my boss and family friend Charlene, whose birthday was coming up, and I told Grandma it would be from both of us. When we checked out, the credit card took forever to write down, there had to be a phone call to get authorized, it took a really long time. And I wasn't impatient one bit. I was happy to be with Grandma.

(I'm not always so patient with time. But this time I was, and I'm happy I was. I've been thinking that I want to be more patient. Less rushed. Enjoy just spending time with people more. It's a skill you have to practice, I think.)

Grandma standing in front of her friend Gretchen's paintings.

"Put your hand on your hip, Grandma," I said. She tries to pose seriously.
She cracks and ends up laughing of course.

We left and I took her home, and I even spent a few more minutes with her there. And then slowly, reluctantly, I said goodbye. It would be the last time I saw her like that.

Now this morning, Saturday morning, I woke up, rested. I had been dreaming of her. Thinking of her. It feels the same this morning. I'd love to call her and take her to breakfast, and for time to stand still again. But I can't. I truly miss her. Sad that I can't call her and take her to Millie's. And while sad, I'm still so grateful she was and is such a huge part of my life.

Tomorrow morning my brothers and I are taking my Grandpa to breakfast. I got to see him this last week, and we made plans to see each other this weekend. The 4 grandsons and Grandpa. He's our last living grandparent.

So life goes on. We miss the ones we've lost but we treasure the fleeting moments we can have with those who remain.

I bet there's someone you're thinking of right now.

If so, go ahead, pick up the phone and call. Make a plan and pick a date in the near future, if not today.

Book that plane ticket to visit that someone. Not because you'll regret it if you don't. Or out of guilt. But because you can. Because you're alive, and so are they, and really, that's all we know and all we've got.

So make the call.

And pray that while you're with that special loved one, you too can make time stand still.