We had plans to go to a party at our neighbor's house for the Super Bowl. It was going to be quite the party - tons of food catered by a nearby Italian restaurant and many interesting people to meet. I was hesitant, wishing instead for a comfortable night in but trying to get excited about it because the Mister had been in a football kind of mood recently.
I was stalling, trying to finish the ironing. I hate the ironing. Such a random chore to be suddenly obsessed with.
And then the call.
It's amazing how fast everything changes.
And just like we had only seven years before, we gathered. In the hospital. In the funeral home. In the church. In the cold and snow covered cemetery. We stared at each other in shock. Just like we had before. Are we really here?
"Suddenly." said the newspaper.
So "suddenly" that no one had a chance to say goodbye. And so, our last interaction was Christmas day. I was rushing out the door, too many family celebrations to be at and couldn't stay long at any one place. "That's a really well behaved dog," he said.
That was the last thing he said to me.
And now I'm kicking myself, filled with anguish and regret. My dad always always always said to spend time with grandparents, you never know how long you have with them. And when my mom's father had a stroke last summer I rushed. I was there. Night after night after work in the hospital room, holding his hand, promising to take care of mama, praying for him, telling him I loved him. I was there. Praise God, he is still here.
I thought it would always be that way. With an illness or just a bit of time to get there, a moment to say goodbye.
Suddenly, I have learned a heartbreaking lesson: that the world as I know it can be altered in an instant.
Suddenly, I am left with nothing but my memories. A few photos. The sound of his voice in the back of my head saying the things he always said.
Suddenly, I am aware of how precious time is, and all I want to do is be with my family, tell them I love them, again and again.
And so I grieve, I cling to my faith, I stare blankly at people as they carry on normally.
You NEVER know how long you have to know and love someone.