My grandma died three months ago. It wasn't unexpected- she was two weeks from 92, had Parkinson's and had stopped eating. Of course, when someone dies, no matter how expected it is, you're sad. You miss them. If they were sick for a while, you mostly miss who they were before their illness. I find myself in moments thinking about doing Grandma's nails, playing Old Maid, watching her and her best friend dance a kick line, not quite as good as the Rockettes, but close.
Grandpa's having a really hard time. He thinks about her when he goes into the kitchen and can't decide how high to turn the burner. He thinks about her when he listens to Big Band. They used to go dancing. I'm telling you, Grandma and Grandpa could really dance. Even in their eighties, they would go out. And they were always noticed. Not just because they were good, which they were despite no formal lessons, but because they had an easiness between them. A familiarity. A closeness that everyone picked up on. They were in love.
When I see Grandpa now I let him talk. Some people, okay, most people, say Grandpa talks too much. That he repeats things too frequently. And true, we count how many times he says, "All the way along the line," and "After WWII," and "When the Lord taps me on the shoulder." (At the funeral it was 8, 7, and 2.) But Grandpa needs to talk, and really, I love to listen to him. Although, in the past he would tell stories about growing up a "river rat" or what it was like during the war. Now he talks about how sad he is, and how he thinks he's getting better, how he isn't thinking about suicide anymore. I try not to react, because I know when you're sad and depressed you think things you probably wouldn't normally think, and it helps to just say it out loud. It takes the burden off a little. And I'm not concerned about him doing anything rash. But I am sad. Because lately his repeat phrase is, "Every day brings me closer to your Grandmother," and I know that it's true.
I think about his life now, how it has become a waiting game and the end prize is dying.
I was at a counseling session the other night and my therapist asked me, "What are you waiting for?" It's a good question. Because I think a lot of life is waiting, and not just waiting like postponing, but also like 'I can't wait for this.' Biding your time until the next big thing. The anticipation of something better. We can't wait to graduate high school and go to college. To graduate college and get a job. To move out of our parents' house. To get married. To have kids. To change jobs. To retire. What we have right now isn't what we want, but what we are waiting for will be.
Seems like an awful lot of wasted time.
So what are you waiting for? I know there are a lot of things in my life I'm unhappy with. (Haha, hence the therapist.) A lot of things I don't change because I'm biding my time, waiting for something better to come along. The problem with this is two-fold. First, I'm wasting my time. I have no guarantee that something better will just land in my lap. Nor do I have a guarantee of how many days I'll have to live. Could be a house falls right on top of me tomorrow. What would I have to show for my life? A whole lot of things I wanted to do, but didn't make time for? Lame. Second, in the meantime, while I'm wiling away my life, dreaming of all the things I want in the future, I'm not appreciating the things that are very good in my life right now. Like my awesome kids at ages 8,6, and 4. Not at 10, 8, and 6. Or the fact that my size is two sizes smaller than last year this time, even though it may not be the one size smaller I wish it were. Again, lame.
I think the point is don't wait. Don't wait, don't spend your time anticipating. Do. Do something every day. Be. Be who you are, be who you want. Because the end prize should be satisfaction. But, really, you shouldn't have to wait for the end for that.
Listening to: Sunny Day Real Estate "The Rising Tide"