This morning I walked over to Central Park. As I circled the reservoir I thought about how lucky I’d been to live so close to this place for so long. It occurred to me that I really have missed this marvelous urban oasis and wondered if I’d be coming back to New York City when I’m done traveling, whenever that may be. I supposed I took it for granted when I did live there and now that I’ve been away from it, it seems more precious to me. I sat on a bench for a while, just to sit for a while. Then I called my parents to tell them I’d be heading to their house this afternoon.
A couple of hours later while I was having lunch with some friends I found out my Grandmother passed away. My parents had told me she was sleeping when I phoned earlier so as soon as I heard Dad say “call me back,” I knew something had happened. My heart dropped and I felt the blood drain from my face. It shouldn’t have shocked me so much since she hadn’t been well for almost two months and her heart was failing. We were expecting and preparing for this day to come. But it still felt like a jolt.
Six hours later I found myself sitting in my parents’ living room with a thick bible on my lap. I was surrounded by two dozen people singing solemn hymns in unison. The rest of my family won’t arrive for another day or two, but these folks from my parents’ church have gathered here to hold a small service. They brought mountains of sandwiches, fruit, and cookies. I’ve been away from any organized religion for many years now and I was at the service because my Dad wanted me to, but it impressed me how this community practically ran over to be at my parents’ side and to usher my Grandmother to the other side.
My Grandmother wasn’t the most lovable person nor was she ever very “Grandmother-ly” to us. But I was her first Grandchild, and I had her affections and attention for some time. I have memories of her taking me into the city for lunch and feeling I was special. She secretly gave me candy and chocolates at night, which resulted in multiple cavities to my Mom’s dismay. My brother used to accuse me of being my Grandmother’s favorite. I think maybe I was.
We are thankful that she wasn’t in much pain and she passed away peacefully. Did I appreciate her enough when she was with us? Will I miss her more now that she’s gone?
She’s returned. She’s passed on. Maybe I’ll see her again in our next lives. She spent 91 years in this one.