90 years old!
I walked into the room at Bethesda place nursing home where the family was gathering to honor my grandmother. Voices were buzzing all around. It was the sound of a happy family.
There were cousins in the room that I had not seen in over twenty years. Then there was my cousin John. He and I were the first-born grandchildren and are only a week apart in age.
My eyes darted across the room and that’s when I saw it. The look on my grandmother’s face. The room was full of people, yet she was sitting alone. She was so emotional. Already tired too, I am sure.
I grew up going to Grandma’s on Sunday’s. We used to watch Walt Disney on Sunday’s with Grandpa (who is no longer with us). I stayed over for summer holidays too.
I used to do Grandma’s hair. We had deep talks. Later in years, when she was living at Fernwood Place, I used to go massage her feet and shoulders for her. I loved to pamper her.
I was just getting used to seeing her on a regular basis when she moved away.
She’s been back for a few years. Why had I not stopped in to visit? How do I approach her after all this time? I felt so ashamed. I am sobbing as I write these words.
Here, this day, as I approached her she opened her arms to invite me to come close. She had tears in her eyes. I fell on her shoulder and we held each other. I didn’t realize I had missed her so much. I also didn’t know she was missing me. She was probably missing all of us.
When I returned home from the party I pondered on how busy her household must have been while raising 13 children. She did her gardening in the morning before the children got up and ready for school. She cleaned and prepared meals for a table full of people.
After lunch, it was her delight to sit down to do the mending. It was her moment to unwind and enjoy the quiet before the school crowd came back. These are the things she has shared with me earlier when I asked her about those years.
I wondered if those memories had gone through her mind at the party as she sat in the wheelchair and watched her family mingle around her.
I was still trying to understand the complexity of the emotions I saw on her face.
How was it that after she gave such unselfish toil and labor for so many years that there was now such a disconnect?
I asked myself, “What was that all about? She invested all that work, and for what?” Perhaps it was my guilt talking. I hadn’t stopped by in a long time. Too long.
How many lonely days had she wondered where we’d all disappeared to?
Yes, she gets company. I know my mother visits her three times a week. My mother… When is the last time I went to see my mother?
I give a lot of time to the buyers and sellers I work for. I find time to talk to people I work with.
If I get to be ninety, what will I think about this season in my life? I think I too will look back at my busy scurrying and wonder, “What was that all about?”
I strive to be an excellent real estate professional. I have trained to be an expert. In the process, I have taken for granted the grace that my family has extended me.
This week on my day off, after I saw the dentist, I stopped by to visit Grandma and then went for lunch with my Mom.
Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate