I woke up feeling light and free.
It’s Saturday morning.
I usually visit my grandmother, Helen, on Saturdays.
She lives alone and doesn’t go out.
I do go out, and we love to see each other. So I go to her.
We sit together.
I bring a project I’m working on
And we talk and talk and talk
She’s very good at keeping secrets
She’s always been my biggest fan.
But today I can’t go see her
She died on Monday
So I’m free to do whatever I want this Saturday
And every Saturday to come.
Most Saturdays I loved going to see her
I looked forward to the haven of her quiet room, no interruptions, no demands
Great conversation, mutual adoration, and sensible advice
But some Saturdays, I would look at my husband and say “I don’t feel like going today”
He’d look at me sympathetically
And I’d say “I’m off, bye”
Some Saturdays, I didn’t go – too busy, let time pass too quickly.
But mostly I went, and the visits fed me and her.
But I’m not sad that I can’t go anymore
I feel free and light
When she died, my mind immediately went to regret:
“I should have gone more often”
“I should have called regularly”
“I should have visited her instead of going for coffee with my friend who was visiting from England”
“I should have been there when she died”
“I shouldn’t have brought my parents back from vacation so soon”
My programming runs deep.
But I immediately recognized the futility of these thoughts
The drama they would create
The absolute lack of any positive result
So instead I moved to gratitude
“I’m so lucky to have had her for so long”
“I learnt so much from her”
“She’s finally at peace”
“I was able to help her”
“My husband and parents-in-law fed and cared for my children so I could feed and care for my grandmother”
“The care at Baycrest was compassionate, efficient and family-centred”
“Her devoted caregivers, Jiji and Gail”
“My mother was with her when she passed”
“My sister-in-law’s friend shared her story of how she thanked her mother, assured her that she would be okay, and gave her permission to go”
So much to be grateful for.
“I did the best I could”
“This is exactly how it was supposed to happen”
And then I moved to excitement
All the possibilities that this space creates:
Cycling/tobogganing with my family (depending on the season)
Afternoon naps with my husband
Visiting people I don’t see enough (e.g. Nettie, my role model for aging with passion)
Playing board games with my children
Seeing what comes up
Which brought me to
Sorrow may hit
A hole may appear
And I will let myself feel these cleanly
All the way through
And I know that if I do, they will take me all the way back to