So much of life is waiting. Waiting for the first day of summer. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting to meet your soul mate. Waiting for baby. The job. The house. Waiting for the right year, right month, right day, right moment to do that thing you’ve been “meaning” to do. It’s human nature.
But while we wait, life passes us by. It’s not intentional. But during the waiting game other people are living their lives as well. Their moments, days, months and years are passing by too. Passing them. And you.
I’ve had an incredibly blessed life. Born into a family with three great grandparents. Four grandparents. And two loving parents. For much of my life – into my 20s, I had all of my grandparents. And I saw them often. During childhood I’d spend weekends at my Grandparents Manhattan and Hamptons homes. During the week the other set would come in for dinner. I was surrounded by family and by love all the time.
I was lucky enough to fly to Florida – where they all ended up moving – up to six times in a year. We had quality time. Just us. As I said, I’ve been unquestionably lucky.
I was the first grandchild on both sides. So by default I had a very special relationship with my grandmothers. I had an extra five years with them before anyone else was born. Through college, through grad school, through my twenties and well into my thirties I would speak to my grandmothers multiples times a week. They’d call me. I’d call them. We would connect. Catch up. We’d talk about nothing. And everything. They were always there to answer. And listen to my sorrows. Or achievements. Exciting dates. Broken hearts. And they’d always be there to pick up the pieces. Or share with me the joys.
Then life happened. And I got busy. And I got engaged. And planned a wedding. Then was on a fertility journey. And got pregnant. And worried about the pregnancy. And couldn’t visit because of Zika. Then I had a newborn. And still couldn’t visit. Then pregnant again. And couldn’t visit again. Then had three babies under two, and life was too busy. Too complicated. And the time between calls was less frequent. And the missed calls weren’t always returned. I meant to. But something inevitably came up. And I’d wait to call. So the years went by. And though the love was always there. The time and effort weren’t.
This year I turn 40. And today, I’m still able to count 3 Grandparents. Beyond beyond beyond lucky.
Earlier this year my Grandmother moved back from Florida. She moved home to Westchester. So she was close. And I’ve been meaning to visit. But there was always a reason I couldn’t. Didn’t. Haven’t. And she was a phone call away. And yet I just didn’t pick up the phone that often. Though I thought about it.
Last week she had some version of a heart attack. She was in the hospital for her 91st birthday. I called her the day after her birthday, because I just got “too busy” to call on the right day. My uncle answered. But as he did, he was getting another call. As he hung up I quickly said “happy birthday grandma”. But he didn’t hear. No one heard. I made a mental note to call back later that day to speak to her. Directly to her. And then I waited. And never made the call.
This past weekend I realized there may not be a lot of time left and vowed to visit her more frequently. At least call more frequently. Like I used to. Like she was used to.
Then I got the call yesterday. She’s had another heart attack. A stroke. Lost consciousness and partial movement in her body. And then hours later the words I was not at all prepared to hear. She has hours or days.
Hours or days. To live. For me to see her. Or not see her. She’s unconscious and on morphine. I’ve waited too long. There are no more moments. Or days. Or months. Or years. I cannot call. I cannot visit. I cannot share my joys. Or sorrows. Life passed us both by. And now it’s too late.
I’m sitting in a car. In traffic. Trying to beat the clock. Desperate to hold her hand. To see my Grandma. Tell her how much I love her. How thankful I am for her. I know it’s for me now. Not for her. For us it’s too late. I waited. And now my heart is irrevocably broken.
If you have anyone in your life you’ve been waiting to call, to visit. To tell you love them. To remind them you have not forgotten what they’ve done for you. Who they’ve been to you. What they mean to you. Please. Please. Please. Don’t wait.