I woke up doing good. I got the kids off to school. Then, something changed. I started thinking about the time when I told my 93 year old grandma that I had to do jury duty. She responded by saying, “Well, that’s an honor.” She may be the only person that could have said that to me and made me completely change my perspective. After all, she knew what it was like to be a woman and not have rights. The right to vote. The right to speak up and be heard. The right to sit as a juror.
I started to tear up, thinking she’s not going to be around forever. Then, I had an urgent feeling to put on my shoes, get in the car and go visit with her. I would drop by McDonalds and get her a coffee. She loves McDonalds coffee. I felt grateful that she was alive, and that I could drive 15 minutes and be in the same room with her. I had gone upstairs to change clothes and I came back down. My husband asked, “What happened?” when he saw my splotchy face. I’ve always suffered from the puffy, snotty, splotchy outward signs of crying.
“I have to go see my grandma.”
Then, I started off with my youngest boy in the car, headed to the McDonalds drive through. When I got trapped in the drive through, I was a sobbing mess. I couldn’t back up or pull around and I could barely say the words, “Two coffees and a milk.” I handed the woman my debit card and she could tell something was wrong. She could have charged me a hundred dollars and never given me my card back and I would not have noticed. I knew I needed to pull myself together but I had succumbed to my fragile state. Broken. Thinking. Over Feeling.
I’m a lot sensitive when it comes to complicated issues where people are being hurt, discriminated against or made to feel shame. I get emotional. Overly. And sometimes irrationally. My brain grabs my heart and it gets real messy. Real fast. Because I know that deep rooted, curled up, crying in fetal position lonesome pain that cannot be healed by even the strongest narcotics. The pain of an unfortunate circumstance. The pain caused by another. The pain caused by disappointment. Illness. A few diseases. A cruel, unfair, inexperienced, calloused, shame-inducing, want-to-change-people’s hearts right this moment kind of pain.
I was having a conversation with my mom on the phone. I got passionate, then emotional. I hurt for all kids or adults that are too scared or in too much present pain to speak up for their future. Sometimes it would be nice if my van could go into auto pilot mode for me when I’m driving and crying. Don’t honk at me. Or do. I don’t really care. Can’t you see? I’m crying in here. And trying to make a left turn. That’s hard stuff.
I got to my grandma’s place a few minutes later. I pulled myself together. You just have to when you’ve got a three year old asking you a bazillion questions. When he is unbuckled, I have no choice but to suck up the snot and get moving.
My grandma made everything disappear. She has the most peaceful, calm and uplifting disposition. I know she would rather be in the home that she spent nearly sixty years living in. But she’s always overjoyed to see us walk through her door. And she happily takes ahold of that McDonalds coffee in her arthritic hands and sips it like it’s pure heaven.
She constantly unknowingly reminds me to cherish the simple things in life. Like a boy climbing onto my lap in a room full of empty chairs. “Your mama needs a bigger lap.” She always says. Every time. She has lived an abundantly full life. I get all choked up knowing my boys won’t jump out of the elevator, run down the long hall and barge into her room much longer.
I’m so grateful that they have had the chance to get to know their sweet great Grandma Fritzy. She possesses a gentle power and strength like no other, the power to ease another’s deep rooted pain with her sole existence. Her peaceful, grateful 93 year old disposition has rescued me from my overthinking, overfeeling self several times this week. And to think that she always genuinely thanks me for coming.
“I know you’re busy, Amelia.” She says.
Yes. Never too busy for her. She has helped me realize that people heal other people. Love heals hearts. My grandma has taught me that brokenness is beautiful and inspiring and strong. But it also makes us fragile. Which is not a bad thing.
I’m grateful for a grandma who instinctively knows how to love on me and handle me with care. Always. Unintentionally. It’s just who she is. Her body is fragile but her spirit is strong. Relentless. And selfishly, I wish she could live forever.