I’m sitting in the hospital with my mother and one of my aunts. A nurse walked in a few seconds ago and started checking my grandmother’s vital signs. My aunt is telling my mom that my grandmother has never been this sick before and just yesterday she was talking.
But tonight, nothing.
People keep calling to check on her, other members of my family are in and out of their tears and I’m just trying to be the strong one. I’m not very good with these types of life events. I avoid confronting them publicly. I always grieve in private or once things have settled down and I’m not really sure why. As open as I am about my thoughts and feelings, I’m so private and guarded with my emotions at the same time…weird.
Two of my aunts and two of my uncles just got here and my mom has called them outside to talk. They leave the room and I get up and rub my grandmother’s hair, hold her arm and let her know that I was there beside her. I made sure to announce myself using my family’s nickname for me so she would know who I was. They never call me Jessica so I didn’t want to confuse her. I apologized for not making more time to see her when she’d tell my mom that she wanted me to come by and I wiped the sweat from her face. I’m not sure if she heard me or not, but I sure hope that she did.
I’ve kept her in my prayers each morning and night and I know in my heart that God knows what is best for her. No one wants to lose a family member but it’s so easy for us to get selfish and want them here on Earth just a little while longer. We don’t think about how taxing their health conditions can be on them and maybe they want to be in a place where their days aren’t clouded by prescription medicines, doctor visits and constant reminders that their health is failing.
I keep thinking about one of the tasks on my 100 In A Year list…the one where I have to interview both of my grandmothers about their lives. I came to the hospital thinking that I would get a chance to talk to her and maybe take her mind off being in a hospital room for just a little while but once I walked through the door I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t prepared to see her the way that she was. As I sat down, I thought about the fact that that particular task had been on my list the past two years I’ve attempted to do the challenge and now I may not even get that chance to chat with one of the two women who were a part of making my life possible. Then, I thought about how much I don’t know about her – not things like where she grew up or how much education she has – the little things…the things that shaped who she is.
Her favorite color…the name of her first love…how she felt when she gave birth to her first child…
I don’t know what the rest of the night, tomorrow, the day after that or next week holds for her or our family but I do know that tonight has given me a new perspective on making time for what’s important…and it’s not always about work, getting ahead or making money.
Sometimes you just need to make time to go visit someone who wants to sit and chat for a while.
(I began writing this post at approximately 7:00 p.m. on November 13, 2013 in a room on the fourth floor of St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi and finished at home in bed at 10:50 p.m.)