Over the years I’ve learned it’s easy to take things for granted.
I’ve done it.
I try hard not to, but it has happened. Maybe you understand what I’m talking about?
I often remember my grandmother this time of year. She was always there. She moved with our family. She didn’t live in our home, she had her own space, but she lived in each place we settled.
She made me chicken and dumplings every year for my birthday. She made the very best fudge every holiday, and whenever my siblings or I requested it. That recipe has been lost. We’ve tried, but it’s impossible to replicate.
In her living room, she kept my picture on a bookshelf. Next to that picture was a small football she had asked me to sign. I played in High School. I thought it was a silly request, but the way I felt when I saw it on her shelf is one of the strongest memories I have of my grandmother. She loved me. She was proud of me.
She called the house often. As a child, I took it for granted. I am ashamed to say there were times I would crinkle a candy wrapper over the speaker of the phone, as though we had a bad connection. “What grandma? …..I …. Hear. . . .you . .” *click*. I was a little jerk. But she loved me.
I always laughed when she would kick my father. She was his mother. She called him David. I can still hear the way she said his name, or the way she said mine. She used my full name, emphasizing the a long “A” at the end, “Joshu (way)”
She was a strong Appalachian woman. She and my great aunt raised my father. I remember getting free ice cream at the drug store where she worked. I remember her sideways looks when she didn’t believe what I said. I remember her humor and quick wit. I remember her sweet potatoes and candied carrots at Thanksgiving dinner.
When she passed, I was in Mexico on a college mission trip. The last time I had seen her was just before she went to the hospital. She was living with my parents at the time. She had fallen and called for help. I remember I was home from college and wanted to watch a movie. It was in the afternoon, I was the only one home. I was annoyed she was calling for me. I am ashamed of my behavior and attitude during those last moments we spent together.
There is so much I wished I had said.
I wasn’t able to attend her funeral.
I am thankful for her love. I am thankful for her strength. I am thankful for the legacy she passed on to my father and he to me.
I took those things for granted. I wish she could have seen my children, my daughter, my wife.
The hardest parts are the words left unsaid.
I am thankful.
Thank you Grandma.
May you cherish every moment.
May you say what needs to be said.
May you be thankful.