Am feeling a little guilty I didnt spend more time with my grandpa at the end of his life, but just remembered something that helps me feel a little better…
In 1982, two years after my grandma died, my grandpa married the widow of a co-worker who had died a few years before. The marriage was a good one – it helped two lonely people who missed their spouses have companionship at the end of their lives, and in fact it helped my grandpa turn away from the booze he’d taken to after my grandma passed.
Fast forward to 2008. Seattle is having a rare extended snow event. There is a foot of snow (give or take) on the ground, it is literally below freezing, and the snow is expected to last a week. I am obsessive about watching the weather, so we were well prepared for the snow, but halfway through the second day my wife said, “I wonder how your step grandma is doing? SHe might be stranded.”
Now, I have not talked to my step grandma in perhaps 5-10 years, and at this time she was in her 90s. She was a bit of a hermit (not in a bad way), and my grandpa had passed 14 years before. I always liked her, and got along with her, but we were not close by any stretch. So my call to her must have seemed completely random to her. “How are you doing with the snow?” I asked her. “Do you need anything?”
“My delivery service couldn’t make it yesterday,” she said. “So I could use some groceries.” She gave me a list of perhaps 20 items, so I put chains on the car, we packed up the family, and made the trip to the store then the 30-minute trip (60-minutes in the snow) to her house. She was very grateful, and we spent an hour visiting with her before returning back to our home and playing in the snow. It was a wonderful day, all things considered.
So I’ve been feeling a little sad today, but this memory brightens me a little bit. When we can;t tell someone who is gone how much we appreciate them, the best we can do is to extend a hand or a heart to someone they loved.