As the years go on, I’m starting to quickly realize that while the days may feel long that the years seem to be getting shorter. This is something that my Great Grandmother had always said to me when I was younger, but until now I had never really understood what she meant. Now I do. Life is short, and you need to make the most of every living breath you take!
Growing up I was fortunate enough to spend summers with my Great Grandmother. My parents would drive me up to her country house. Far from the city. The smog. Where all you had was a love summer breeze and clean air. I enjoyed my summer vacations there. Probably more than anyone can understand.
I didn’t have access to a TV. There was limited reception on the radio. We passed time gardening, doing crossword puzzles, walking the town and playing games. All mindless activities, but it gave me such an appreciation for life.
My favourite part of our visits together was sitting on the front veranda during rain storms, looking at old pictures and listening to my Great Grandmother tell amazing stories of her journeys through life. She was a woman of the world, and had been through so much. She lost her husband the year I was born. A widower left to tell her tale. She never wept, but always carried on with her head up high. She had such an appreciation for everything. A true role model, she was.
When I was 13, she had a stroke. One that would forever change everything. The stroke left the right side of her body paralyzed. The summers I had once looked so forward to spending with her were over. She was in no condition to care for me anymore, the way she had used to. As much as this got me down, I had to do something… Something for her. I needed to be there for her, like she had been there for me my whole life.
After doing much pleading with my Mother and Nana, I was able to find myself up north visiting with my Great Grandmother frequently at the hospital and nursing home. The visits were always short, but we made the most of our time. I’d read to her. Help her with physio. Hold her hand, and walk the halls with her. Help her to the bathroom and with eating her meals. Anything she needed, I would do. I know she would have done the same for me had the situations been reverse.
Not once did I ever hear her complain. That always amazed me.
The world has been so blessed to have been graced with such an inspirational woman as her. She’s left me forever changed, and for that shes certainly become my role model.
When life hands me lemons now, I make lemonade. Taking everything as a grain of salt. Life’s to short to dwell on the bad times, but rather we have to make the most of all the days we have. I plan to do that, and I hope my children learn to follow by my example.
Funny how one person can leave such positive footprints on one’s life!