The Moments That Count

Written September 10, 2010

Last night I went to my grandmother’s bedside, it was late, the room was dimly lit. She lay in her hospital bed, lost amid a jumble of pillows and blankets. She is presently at home in palliative care making her way from this world to the next. She is dying.

It was a promise my mother and her sisters made to her before she became so gravely ill. They promised her she could die at home with her family there to care for her. She was awake, something she had not been for a few days now.

When I entered the room and saw her eyes open and her head turned towards the sound of my steps, I felt the surge of such a bittersweet blessing. I was fortunate to steal yet another moment of her life before it was gone to me completely.

I stood beside her bed and leaned closer so she could hear my voice. To my surprise she reached up and cradled my face in her hands, she smiled upon me and her eyes were filled with such joy to see me again. When I left her that night I could still feel the cool touch of her hands on my cheeks; I wanted it to linger there forever. I couldn’t bear the thought of never feeling her touch once more.

Every time I leave her there in her solitary room I think it may be the last time I will share a moment with her. I feel so greedy because I want just one more last moment to see the resilience in her eyes and feel her living presence. You can never have that last moment because you always want one more, and then one more, there is never the quintessential last moment to last you the lifetime you must live without them.

It is not that I feel I must have that final chance to say my farewells, that is done and I have no fear whether or not she knows how much I adore her, that is unspoken. It is the hollow reality of not sharing another moment with her again.

She is one of the most influential and strongest figures to ever have moulded and guided my life, both Earthly and Spiritual. I have to thank her for the many blessings of having such a powerful witness to what life on this Earth should be; she often helped me find an illuminating light in the darkness of my emotionally dark world.

Throughout my life, she has always been there, as a teacher, a caregiver, a spiritual guide, a trusted friend, a beloved grandmother. When I came back to this province, a broken single mom, she taught me that even the fallen have their right to dignity and the tenderness of her presence told me I could run away from home, but never go far enough to leave her heart.

Being in my grandmother’s presence has always felt like coming home. To think that I won’t be able to share any more moments with her is the most heartbreaking thought. It feels as if a pillar of strength inside my soul is being knocked down and leaving the roof of my heart to sag.

But, I know she is joyous to return home. And, I am happy for her. And one day, when I am taking that walk between here and eternity, she will be waiting there for me with welcoming arms.

And we can walk around heaven all day. I will be in her presence once more, and then there won’t ever be the last moment of parting again.

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