Tonight has been an emotional one. I’ve felt pride, love, loss, pain, relief, and more love. I’ve mentioned that I am a nanny and tonight the 2 and a half year old little man I look after peed in the toilet! I don’t quite have that “mother pride” but I imagine it is pretty close. It’s also a bit of a relief to realize he’s finally starting to get it and maybe I won’t have to clean up messes much longer. As we usually do on the nights I’m here late, we read a book before bedtime. I can’t remember exactly which one it was but I know it was a Richard Scarry book- maybe the one about “Things people do all day” or something. Anyways, there was a part that featured outdoor games and there was a little bunny playing croquet. Little man asked me what he was doing and I tried to explain to him what it was and my mind immediately went to the last time I remember playing.
My thoughts shifted to my grandmother. The only time I can think of playing was when my brother, my two cousins, and I stayed at her house for a week one summer. I must have been younger than 10 and don’t recall anything about the game but it made me think of my grandma. So many things make me think of her, but I never thought croquet would. I wish I could remember more of the time I spent with her; I feel lucky that I had 23 ¾ years with her but it doesn’t feel like enough. Every once in a while bits of memories come back to me (tonight being a prime example) and I am happy I had those memories, but am painfully reminded I will have no more.
Her 74thbirthday would be coming up on Monday 8/27 and I know that day will be a little difficult. I am envious of a couple select relatives who were able to spend her last birthday with her. I did call and didn’t have the money to go back home anyways but I still feel bad that I spent her final birthday at a lingerie party with a bunch of drunks (I drove that night or I may have been one of them). Nobody knew it was going to be the last, and she surely didn’t know what I was doing (nor would she probably have judged- my grandma was cool like that) but I still feel bad about it.
Christmas Eve she was admitted to the hospital and never made it out. The day after Christmas “cancer” was a new swear word in the family. Surgery to remove nearly a foot of her colon was a success; it seemed they got it all. It was awful seeing her in that much pain and giving her Christmas gifts in the hospital; ones she’d never get to use. I made her a video of Colorado scenery pictures and video clips of hikes I’d done since she’d never been here-she never got to see it, also gave her an Elvis Christmas ornament-she’s in love with him-it will now hang on my tree every year, and a framed picture of me on top of a mountain- which was buried with her. It was time for me to go back to Colorado and I was confident she’d be fine (as was everyone else) and I’d be getting a Valentine’s Day card in the mail in a couple months. Two days after I left, it was discovered a little more of her insides needed to come out and it did- successfully. When she coughed, she was in so much pain but the reports said everything looked OK. 6 days after I returned to Colorado, she coughed and released a blood clot causing her heart to stop. And a piece of mine died.
Though the relationship was young, I could never find the words to properly thank my wonderful, amazing man for being there for me through that. He offered to make the 12 hour trip with me, though it would be the first time he’d meet my family. He was absolutely everything I needed at that moment (and continues to be every day) and tonight (without me telling him I was having a bit of a time) I received a heart melting email. The first line is as follows: “Staring blankly at an empty email doesn’t seem to help me put my words into coherent thoughts. I feel so many things when I think about you. Love, joy, happiness, contentedness, ambition, even some sorrow due to what you’ve been through this year.” Did I not say he was amazing? It’s like he knew! The rest of the email is just as lovely, but I am keeping that to myself.
Upon reading that I fell apart, but it was a happy fall apart. I know that I will experience more painful loss in my life; I have a huge family (50ish) and we’re all close, but I feel blessed to have someone so remarkable to help me through everything life throws at me. I feel like few people get to experience the kind of love I have in my life and I cherish it.