It’s early, but I’ve been awake for hours. My mind is racing, I cannot rest.
So, I sit, waiting, willing words to come, to flow freely from my fingertips. To share with you the sorrows and joys that have been these last few weeks. And yet, I simply cannot. The words elude me.
I can feel them in my heart, but it’s like that moment when you are struggling for the one word that conveys the meaning you need – it’s right there, on the tip of your tongue, and yet, that’s where it stays.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call that my grandmother was ill. As the days passed, it became more and more clear that her time here was drawing to a close. She slipped from this life in the early hours of Saturday, December the 8th, with her husband of 64 years holding her hand, and her children at her side.
Plans were laid out to celebrate her life, and in those days that followed, we celebrated birthdays. My mother, my husband, my best friend’s daughter and another dear friend, all in a span of a few days.
And then, I got another phone call. My grandfather was showing signs of a stroke. Mild, they caught it early, but they were going to keep him overnight for observation. As the day progressed, he improved. We were all optimistic, and even still anticipating that he would be able to travel within a few days and we would hold my grandmother’s services as planned.
We were wrong. The doctors were wrong. And now, we are waiting for angels to carry him home, back to his bride, who undoubtedly is standing next to Peter waiting, smiling, for her husband.
Just hours ago, I posted this. In the last 30 minutes, my grandfather has woken up, despite the doctors dire predictions. He’s awake, he’s talking, laughing with my dad. Truly a miracle this Christmas. Truly.
And in the midst of all this, in the middle of my personal world crashing down around me, a small, sleepy town in Connecticut found their world destroyed by the actions of a young man hell-bent on destruction. 26 lives taken, 20 of them were only six or seven years old. Just babies.
My grandmother was 86. My grandfather is 90. They have lived long, fulfilling lives. They’ve raised children, seen their grandkids play sports, attended performances at the schools of their great-grandchildren. As hard as it is for us to lose them, they have lived.
It’s so cliché. I know it is. But this past week, possibly more than any other week in my life, has encouraged me to embrace those I love, to spend time with them, to listen to them, to hug them. To be a strength for them when they need lifted up, and to let them lift me when I need that support.
Because they may be 86, or they may be six, but the time we have with them will always feel too short when we’ve reached the end of it.