Let Me Tell You a Story...

   It was a rainy, autumn night. I was going over to my grandparents' home with my tiny, sea foam green Hello Kitty sewing machine, a bag brimming full with royal blue, corduroy material, and my sewing kit in tow. I was looking forward to my evening: my grandmother was going to teach me how to properly use my new sewing machine, a wedding gift, to make the full skirt of my dreams. 

   I thought it was going to be the easiest thing. Ever.
   After two hours of measuring, pinning, cutting, sewing, and repeat, my skirt was no where near complete. My sewing machine was freezing up, over and again. I had run out of the golden yellow thread I was using. I had stabbed my finger pretty good a few times. There was about another three hours or so left of work to go.

   And I hit a wall. 

   My frustration had reached a boiling high, and it was showing. Obnoxious grunts, ascending higher in volume each moment, came flying out of my mouth before I could pull them back in and stifle them. 

   "My poor Sammi, she's trying so hard and getting so frustrated," my grandma softly, and kindly said. She put her hand on my shoulder to comfort me as I moaned, suddenly reverting back to age four-temper-tantrum phase. I stiffened my back defensively, as if she was the cause of all the problems I was having with my skirt. I quickly eased my shoulders, realizing that I had directed anger towards my innocent, patient grandma. I sighed loudly.

   "It's okay baby, just be patient. The more you get frustrated the more difficult it will be to sew. It's just a skirt." My grandmother stood up and made her way to the pantry. She was so calm and logical, it was hard to find a decent reason to justify my anger. I was quiet, knowing that I was getting worked up over something fairly trivial. Returning to the kitchen table, our makeshift work station, with an unopened bag of potato chips, she asked, smiling, "Want to have Pepsi, Sammi?

   This instantly calmed me down and made me laugh. My grandma was infamous for snacking on potato chips with Pepsi. It had become the joke among the grandchildren, and of course we all indulged in the snack along with our grandma. It was our "thing."

   As we sat, chatting and snacking, every so often checking the skirt's progress, I could feel my frustration and anxiety slowly subside. Finally, after talking for a while about how work was going for me, my grandma decisively said "Alright, it's time to get back to work."

   And that was it. I couldn't say no, and at that point, I was ready to try again. I know she had sensed that, and had been gauging my anxiety level through our conversation in order to determine when I was ready to give the skirt another go. She was very good at reading people. As my grandma patiently, lovingly worked with me, every so often giving a firm reminder of what I was supposed to be doing, I felt better about the whole night and skirt-situation. We didn't finish that ridiculous skirt that night, but we agreed to complete the work another evening. I went home feeling happy that I was able to spend the evening with my grandma, and even though I was frustrated for a while, the night ended with laughter and joy.

   A few weeks later, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This turned into a three year battle, with surgeries, chemo, more surgeries, one hospital stay after another. On February 8th of this year, my grandmother quietly, and peacefully passed away in her own bed, surrounded by family.

   Typing that feels so surreal, foreign, and wrong. So unfair and unjust.

   These past few weeks, I have been trying to come to terms with reality. But to be completely honest, I don't want to. It makes no sense to me whatsoever that a woman who was so kind, selfless, and genuinely loving-not just to family, to EVERYONE-could be dead, while murderers, child abusers, and the like keep on living and hurting others. How is that right, how is that fair?! 

My heart hurts like nothing I've ever experienced before. And it hurts even more to know that there are others feeling the same loss and hurt every minute of everyday. 

   Though my schedule has started to stabilize and I'm slowly returning to reality, waves of painful emotions hit me each day. For a while, I didn't want to talk to anyone about what I was going through. Now, I feel as if I'm ready to share happy memories I have with my grandma, like the night she tried so patiently to teach me how to sew on a machine. Maybe one day, I'll be able to talk at length about everything that happened without having an overwhelming sensation of drowning in emotions. 

   I loved my grandma so very much. I had the privilege of having her in my life for all 28 years I have lived, and despite that, I wish I could have her for even longer. She set an outstanding example of love, loyalty, kindness, genuine care for others, and selflessness. She gave people the benefit of the doubt, and went out of her way to help those in need. I will live each day trying to imitate those beautiful qualities of hers. I hope that one day I can be as kind, patient, and giving as she was. 

   Maybe one day I'll finish that skirt I started with her. The idea of working on it without her feels awful, though.

   I know this was a really long winded story that I'm sure the majority of people wouldn't care to hear. I hope that, if you read this far, you were not bored. My grandmother was an amazing person, and I honestly don't know how to better share that with others than to commune the memories I have of her in which her priceless, beautiful qualities shine through.

   I know that I wrote this previously, but I will reiterate it: please, please be sure to take the time to tell those you care about how much they mean to you. This life is brief, and unforeseen things befall us all. There is nothing worse, I feel, than to live with the nagging, aching regret that you should have said or done more for those you love. I'm so thankful that I was able to spend so much time with my grandmother up until her death, and I will treasure the happy memories I have with her forever. 

Till next time.
Love, Little Mouse

Love, Little Mouse

No comments:

Post a Comment