I’m boarding a plane to Stockholm Tuesday evening. I will arrive in Sweden the next day, September 6, around 9am. I had initially planned to prepare for my trip last week by putting my items in storage, packing, calling about my financial stuff, squeezing in a couple of extra shifts at my per diem job, and spending time with my family. I knew it would be tight, but I had every confidence that I would complete my tasks.
The universe had other plans. I got a phone call from my dad Friday night letting me know that my Grandmother’s condition with cancer had exacerbated. She was put on morphine, and no one knew how long she would have. Immediately, I left my friends’ place in Providence, called the friend I was supposed to hang out with and began the trip to NH. Luckily, the friend I had plans with was able to accompany me on the three hour trek, which transformed the sojourn into an adventure.
When I arrived to Keene NH, I walked into my Grandmother’s home. Although I knew she had been sick, I was unprepared to see her in her current state. She was laying down, eyes somewhat closed. Her breathing came heavily. Above her there was a painting of a sunset with the verse: “Be still and know that I am God.”
And, that was the hardest piece for me: knowing that there was nothing I could do, except visit, and tell her how much she meant to me. Knowing that only God could help her.
And, that’s the truth. There are some things in life that humans have no control over: Death, Freewill and Time. The only piece of life every individual can control is how they spend the time they have on Earth, who they spend it with and their own personal choices.
My Grandmother spent her life raising four men: my father and my three uncles. After that, she spent much of her life with friends, family and God. She was a constant encouragement, and inspiration. Even when she was sick, she paid attention to small details. She hand-made cards for each of her Grandchildren. She loved drinking coffee with me when I came over. She was always open to talking about whatever I wanted to talk about.
Above all, she loved her family and friends unconditionally. During her celebration of life yesterday, person after person told stories about my Grandmother’s vivacious personality, her love for friends, and her ability to accept people no matter who they were or where they came from.
Although I will always miss her, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to say good bye. To tell her I love her. To see her alive one last time. I will forever remember her smile, the bright red hair she sported for so many years, and her infectious laugh. And, as I travel, I know I will do my best to love others unconditionally, just like she loved others as well.