(my grandparents, when they came to the hospital and met the boys for the first time)
It's funny...I wrote that post about my grandpa last night.
Today, I got a text from my aunt saying that he's unresponsive.
It appears his time to go is just around the corner.
This afternoon, the girls and I were driving home from my gal's dance class.
I had a quiet song of Shawn Colvin's playing on repeat in the car.
The sky was overcast, the windows were down, and I found myself feeling rather wistful, maybe even a little sad.
My grandpa's 91st birthday is next week, and the date of my father's death, his son, is this weekend.
Seems kind of funny that all of this is brushing so close to each other.
Two years ago tonight, I was sitting in the front room in the dark, talking on the phone with a dear friend of mine---incidentally, a cancer surgeon.
I was updating him on my dad's condition and, as I recall, shed some tears as I talked with him about my tender feelings for my dad.
While I was talking, my son came up and sat down in the chair with me and fell asleep.
When I look at these photographs of that night, two years ago today, I remember the emotion that was wrapped up in that whole experience.
It was exhausting.
As you approach the inevitable threshold, everything inside of you wants to hold on to every available second.
But, at the same time, when you watch somebody that you love suffer like that, you also find yourself praying for their release.
You want their pain to be over.
You want them to be able to fly.
You want them to be strong and capable.
You want them to laugh again.
Sometimes I can't figure out how it happened that I got to be in my thirties.
And somewhere along the way, I had four children.
I know I was here for all of it, but this ride keeps getting faster and faster.
(Our family, 12 days before my dad's death, just following his last recital)
I suppose as you approach goodbyes with people that you love, one of the beautiful things you also feel is a huge weighing of all the ways they influenced you---the gifts they gave you, what they taught you, how they loved you, and how their love has become a literal force in your life. Years later, you still turn around and see them in how you do things, how you think about things, traditions you continue, jokes you shared, expressions native to them, things that you appreciate. Their fingerprints are still everywhere. You still hear their voice in your mind and heart.
And another thing? It's a beautiful process because it has opened my eyes to appreciating time in a new way---all the small moments, people to share them with, the simple patterns and traditions that shape my family and my life, because there's an awareness that these things won't always be.
What is left in my heart will stay, but the incidental experiences are enjoyed, and then gone.
When I think about these things, it's really hard for me to not get an overwhelming sense of how precious the experience is, how quickly it all goes, and gratitude.
Lots of gratitude.