Much of the past few weeks have been spent thinking of, acting on behalf of, talking or being with my fraternal grandmother Mabel. I’ve spent more time with her in the past 6 weeks than I did in the previous 30 years. Until she moved to Wichita, we never had a particularly close relationship. She was never outgoing, gregarious, and she always called me “Champ”.
Grandma Mabel is the strongest fighter I’ve ever known and I’m certain she’s never thrown a punch.
I was sitting with Grandma last night. We looked at the picture from her kitchen. The picture of her wedding day. She stands straight, dark, and beautiful next to Grandpa John. The smiles on their faces and the synchronized twinkles in their eyes have been genetically transferred to their great-grandsons. Miles, Abe, Tynan, Otto, Owen, Leo, Ronan, and especially Huey. They possess all those mischievous possibilities in their own eyes.
Her initial words to me last night were a croaked, “I love you.” I left her in hospice care to tend to my own and she left me with a clear admonishment to “hold your moments with them close.”
And I trust that clarity because I know she spent her life fighting for it.