I love seeing all of the family photos and happy posts from Easter brunch, Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, and making memories today. It is always such a cool glimpse into other people’s lives while they record memories and share their love with their family and friends. Usually, I am right there with everyone happily posting their events and photos, but today, this was not a happy Easter photo opportunity and it wasn’t really us making happy memories, but it was an important afternoon in our lives.
I didn’t get to spend Easter today with The JellyBean of all JellyBeans….I am sad to have missed her second Easter but we were exactly where we were supposed to be – with Kevin’s Mom. We drove down this morning for a nice lunch with her in her assisted living home. It is a really nice facility in Fayetteville and the staff is always so nice and very friendly. But, it was a really hard day. Kevin’s Mom didn’t show much recognition for us at all. She is quite immersed in her dementia and Parkinson’s disease has now crept into her life too. They think she might have had a slight stroke last week and our ability to understand her speech or her thoughts is gone. As she sat there at lunch I realized, for the first time, that the women I know and love, is gone. It was a very hard lunch and I realized again today how fleeting life is. As I sat at our table I had time to look around and see what was around me. There was a woman across the way that had tiny hands but her knuckles were huge. Her fingers were twisted and turned all which ways but she was alert and enjoying conversation with her family. There was a family behind Kevin that kept having the same conversation over and over and over again. The same sentences repeated, the same questions asked. You could sense the family’s frustration with the total repetition during their lunch. Then I saw a woman lovingly pushing her hubby in a wheelchair and her left leg twisted inward at the knee and then her ankle was almost hitting the floor as she walked. It sounds like a scary movie but it wasn’t….it is simply old age. I saw some of the people there visiting their parents with boredom/dread on their faces and I couldn’t help but be jealous of them. I wish I would have had the opportunity to visit my Mom in an assisted living facility. I would have given anything for more time with her. Kevin’s Mom has lived 31 years longer than my Mom. Shoot – that is how old I was when my Mom passed away. 31 years…what a huge blessing to have all of those memories and moments tucked away in your mind and heart. How lucky are these people at lunch today? Pretty lucky I think.
As I sat there I realized how fast my life is going by. Several years ago we were celebrating Thanksgiving with Kev’s Mom and Dad, at their own home, with tons of people and lots of laughter, and it seems like it was 6 months ago. Now Kev’s Dad is gone and his Mom is leaving….maybe not physically yet – but she is definitely slipping away. And my Mom is gone – shoot – she has been gone for almost 20 years. That sentence seems almost wrong – a big fat lie….20 years since I hugged my Mom? 20 years since she hugged my children? 20 years since she called me and asked me if I wanted to take the kids out for lunch? Over 20 years since we laughed together so hard that we both began to cry…..
I remember it like it was yesterday – dressing Morgan in her Easter dress and Kyle in his little Easter suit and going to my Mom’s house for a big Easter egg hunt and lunch. Now my daughter is dressing her little girl in a beautiful Easter dress and I am looking at pictures from a distance. Where is time going? How can Kev’s Mom be so old (and precious), my Mom be gone, and my daughter is a Mommy?
Sometimes I feel like I am sitting in the middle of a busy road and everyone is speeding by me in all directions and I am just sitting still, dumbfounded, that life is going by so quickly and I am missing it. I feel like I am trying to enjoy it and do it all and I am missing it….but today, even though I missed Easter with The JellyBean, we were where we were supposed to be; with Kevin’s Mom. I couldn’t help but think today’s message for me was to slow down and pay more attention. To what I am not sure – but something. I can feel it….the thoughts and feelings today were clear. People, enjoy time with your parents, no matter how crazy they make you (they grow old awfully fast)….savor every second with your children, no matter how crazy they make you (they grow up awfully fast)….and soak up every second you can with your grand babies – and we all know they don’t make you crazy at all….it seems that having a grand baby sets everything right – exactly where everything belongs and makes sense out of every other moment in life. Now I understand what all of the grand children hoopla is about. Now I understand why I see such loss in the eyes of Kevin’s Mom…today was a day of seeing old and new – through another set of reflective eyes.