It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving around 8pm.
All my siblings and I are at my mom's, and we had finished dinner. My mom shared that she was taking a plate to Memaw and asked if anyone wanted to go. My instant thought was I am already so tired...
Then, I realized I hadn't yet seen Memaw, and I had been in town almost three whole days.
"James, do you want to go?" I asked my husband. "Uhhh...." was his response.
I realize he doesn't want to go.
There are days all I can do is imagine what James' maternal grandparents and his paternal grandfather were like using descriptions and stories I've heard weaving them with the family pictures and videos I have seen. I miss not knowing those intricate family members of my husbands. Here I am just going to drop by for a few minutes on one of the greatest, LIVING influencers of my life and my husband is looking at his ipad in the living in front of the TV.
Geez, men and women are different. I realized -not for the first time.
"Let me go change really quick, Mom." I said aloud for all to hear.
As I got dressed, I thought about the last time I had seen my Memaw and realized it had been awhile, September to be specific. 'Why don't I visit her every time I'm in town?' I chastised myself. Then, I realize I am letting that inner voice be a critic instead of a cheerleader. I embrace the feeling of failure. Fight it. Embrace it. Then, I accept. Finally, I redirect it. 'I can call her several times a week. That's my goal for the next month. December is hard on a lot of people, myself included. Oh, and my mom. It is her hardest month of the year. Back to Memaw: My calling Memaw might, no WILL benefit us both. I will call so often that even when the conversations are short it won't matter because we both know I will call again.
I realize it feels good to have plan.
As my mom, sister, and I drove the short 3 mile distance, I thought 'I could walk to Memaw's from Mom's. Why don't I? I will. Maybe next time I am here, I will borrow Mom's bike and exercise my way here. Family and fitness!'
As we took steps up 'the walk' as Memaw always calls it, I noticed how similar every thing is. I love the memories this place cultivates. I've got to focus when I get inside and not be swept away in the memories.
I realize being present is the best thing I can do right now.
As I stood in Memaw's house, I realized it had changed even more than the last time I visited.
Memaw is excited to see us 'girls'. I realized I am already glad I came.
In listening to Memaw talk, I realized parts of her personality aren't going to change.
I also realized there is something a little off. 'It is late in the day' I reminded myself.
Memaw complained about some stomach pain that hasn't gotten better. I realized Mom's questions to Memaw about her medicine, her diet, her sleep, and her bowel movements aren't new to Mom's tongue.
At some point on the car ride home, mom said, "Yall should really come see her every time you're home."
'Be quiet' I tell my inner critic voice. 'You're done for the night.'
As I laid down in bed that evening, I realized there was a huge lump in my throat accompanied by big crocodile tears that fell quickly down my face.
As I begin to really cry, I realized I was shaking and couldn't breathe well.
My husband tried to comfort me, I realized there really wasn't anything he can say.
I do realize life is short and precious no matter our age or current health.
I realize my Memaw isn't growing younger, none of us are.
I do realize we don't ever know how long we or our loved ones have with us.
I realize that it wouldn't be easier if we did.
The realization that a loved one isn't doing as well as you want is hard.
The realization there is nothing you can do is even harder.
The realization that you can't comfort or love a dear one's pain away, well that's one of the hardest realizations of all.
I realize as I type this on the eve of my Memaw's 82nd birthday (who is currently in the hospital again), prayer is a powerful, comforting, peace-giving thing even in the midst of the uncertain.
"Behold, I shall extend peace to her like a river..." Isaiah 66:12