Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Count Blessings

I was recently sitting in a class where the teacher asked the students, "How many of you have had days where you just feel like everything is going wrong?"  And I thought, "Me. Today. Yesterday. Probably tomorrow."  I'm good at making everything about me.

Knowing full well I was feeling sorry for myself and wallowing, I tried to do as the teacher directed and "count my blessings". Man, it was hard. There are plenty of them out there, I just wasn't particularly interested in focusing on them. I'm trying to do better.

My grandmother passed away last night.  I tried to get to her. I hurried as fast as one can when having to rely on flights, time change, children and a husband. I prayed that I would be able to catch her last breaths and kiss her on the forehead and thank her for loving me. Loving everyone. Even when we didn't necessarily deserve it.  I didn't make it. Three hours too late.

"I should have taken the earlier flight."  "I should have come yesterday."  "I should have scanned that letter and emailed it instead of sending it in the mail."  "I should have called more often."  "I should have had the kids send pictures more often."  "I should have been better." But I didn't and I wasn't. But Grandma is OK with that.  I know she is because I know my grandmother.

From the time I was in the 6th grade I called her granny...because she hated it.  When you close your eyes and think about a typical grandmother, Granny was not really that.  She was sassy. She was realistic. She was accepting. She had opinions. She told people her opinions. She never once baked me cookies. She more than once bought me good Mexican food. She more than once let me drink Coke when my parents weren't around. She let me borrow her car whenever, for whatever. Just bring it back. She stopped wearing a bra when she was 64 because "I'm and old lady. I can do whatever I want. And I do NOT want to wear a bra!" She bossed my grandfather around like a BOSS. She had season tickets to Major League Baseball games and WNBA basketball games.  And took me. Often! Granny forgave everyone, even when they didn't deserve it. Granny served. She has done more humanitarian projects from the comfort of her own home than anyone I know of.  She has knit hats, made blankets, put together hygiene kits, made toy packets. Hundreds and hundreds of these things.

Granny hated flying.  Granny especially hated flying over the ocean. My family lived across the ocean for a long time and she made it perfectly clear that it was our responsibility to visit her because if she came to visit us, her plane would certainly crash and she would die.

Paranoid.  Granny was paranoid. She was claustrophobic. She was happy to let people help her. She also always needed to be helping and taking care of other people. Even after grandpa died she always had people living in her house. She didn't want to be alone. But she also wanted people to take care of. And she did.

Granny was old.  Old people die.  I know how this works.  But this one isn't sitting well for me.  When grandpa died I felt a lot of relief.  Relief for grandpa, relief for grandma. Relief for my dad who worked tirelessly to take care of my grandfather as he got sick. But grandma. Grandma was always there. She was able. She was capable.  She was supposed to be that cockroach that was still here after everyone else died.

I loved her.  I love her. I miss her. I have regrets. I believe regrets can be good if they motivate us to change. I am motivated. She is one of my many blessings.

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