I was just looking at my cat, Gus, thinking, “I have known you all but 3 weeks of your little kitty cat life”. That got me thinking, about who I have known all of their lives, from the minute they were born. Then I started thinking about who has known me since I was born. At this point, the only person who has known me all the years I was alive during their life time was my gramma. We lived together the first 18 years; I went to college and came home to live with her for the next 18. Even in college or when I was out of town, there wasn’t a full week that went by that we didn’t at least talk on the phone. I can’t say that about anyone else. I have known my niece and nephew since they were born, my cousins, my sister, but there have been gaps in the times I have been in communication with them.
This isn’t the first time, that I have gotten teary-eyed thinking that the person I loved the most on the planet isn’t here. The person who drove me crazy, made me laugh, encouraged me, scolded me is gone. The one person who was always there. If you have a one person who is always there, don’t lose that. My cousin can say that about her children. She is always there for them. She knows what’s going on in their lives. She loves them unconditionally.
I know lots of people who are close to their parents and talk weekly, monthly, daily. I know that my friends and others might think I “wasted” my youth living with Gramma, caring for her, dealing with her when others couldn’t and wouldn’t. I have never felt that way. I have never regretted keeping her with me until literally the minute she died. It is the thing I am proudest of, and not to toot my own horn, but I have plenty to be proud of, but this is it for me.
She would have been 83 this year, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I do think about her daily. More days than not it’s to laugh about something silly she did or said. Sometimes, I see an older lady in a grocery store, drug store, restaurant, sitting at a bus stop, and I suck in my breath because they strike a resemblance or dig up a lost memory. I have gotten past the crying every time I talk about her stage of grieving, but holidays are still not as fun as they once were, and her birthday is no exception. We always celebrated our birthdays big in my family. For her 75th birthday, I called all over town to find a florist who would deliver 75 gladiolas to her. Most just didn’t have that many, but one older woman was so touched by it, that she tracked down 75 for me and delivered them all. When I got home, Gramma said, “Well, I guess I know what my funeral will be like”. She loved them, but a morbid sense of humor is a family trait.
She loved cardinals as well. Whenever I see one, I take that as a greeting from her, a little, “You’ll be fine”. So, tomorrow or any other day if you see a cardinal, just know that I’ll be fine.