I have spent a lot of my life living in the past. Not so much lately mind you, but it still happens from time to time. And in my younger days, it was pretty much my primary occupation. I was always questioning every decision I made (even those made years in the past), and I was always wondering why things didn’t work out and how I could have made things better. How I could have been better in those situations. I’d like to think there is some benefit to reflecting on the past. I think it’s important to remember your history; otherwise you may keep making the same mistakes over and over again. But given how much time I have spent reflecting on yesteryear, I’ve probably just stopped myself from focusing on the future and moving forward.
On August 12th of this year, one day before her 80th birthday, my grandmother passed away. It wasn’t a complete shock. Grandma’s health had deteriorated in recent years, and she was completely wheelchair-bound for the last portion of her life. It was sad to see someone who used to be so independent have to rely on others for pretty much everything.
A while ago, I wrote a little story about my grandfather’s recent birthday party. While the story is pretty much all fiction, I tried to make the silly parts with my Grandma capture how I saw her; as a charming, beautiful (and kind of funny) person.
One of my favourite things was playing cards with Grandma. More specifically, I loved watching Grandma get mad at Grandpa for not playing cards properly. Whenever my wife and I would visit my grandparents at their cottage, I would force them to play Euchre with us. My Grandma was fairly competitive while my Grandpa is not, leading to lots of hilarious situations. My Grandpa could care less about winning, so he would play cards seemingly at random, and every time, without fail, my Grandma would get mad at him for “not playing right”. You may think it was mean to put two old married people in a situation where I knew they would get mad at each other (and you’d probably be right), but I could tell they were never seriously upset. You could tell that after all those years they still had love in their hearts.
The memorial service for my Grandma was short and sweet, and I think the reception afterwards would have met with her approval. The service was led by a reverend from a local church, and he said something that made me rethink how I have lived most of my life up to this point.
Time is precious.
It’s something I have always known, but never fully appreciated until the moment the reverend said it. I have spent a big chunk of my life thinking and worrying about things I cannot change, and in the end, the exact same thing will happen to me as happened to my Grandma. I don’t want to leave this earth regretting things that happened years before, and I don’t want to regret wasting time thinking about things I can’t do anything about. It’s unfortunate that it took the passing of my grandmother to make me see something that is probably obvious to most people, but better late than never I suppose.
It’s not going to happen overnight, and I’m not even sure how one goes about not thinking about things that happened a long time ago. I mean, how do you intentionally not think about something? Anyway, I’m sure the coming of my son will force me to think more about the present and future than ever before. No pressure, kid.
In the meantime, I’m going to think about my Grandma and remember what a wonderful person she was and how much she still means to me. I’ll always miss her, but I’ll take comfort in the fact that I got spend time with her for almost 30 years; each one a gift better than anything I could have asked for.
As disappointed as I am about my Grandma’s passing, I’m happy that I got to talk to her on her last day and tell her that my first child is going to be a boy (she wanted it to be a girl, but she forgave me). And maybe even more importantly, I got to tell her that I love her.
I love you, Grandma.