A while back, I’d had a hard day: Kiwi had hardly slept, and I was tired. So tired. It was nice outside but I’d been at my computer all day, so I strapped her in the carrier, leashed up Finn and went for a walk. I decided to call my grandma.
She answered with a wary, “Hello?”
“Hi Grandma, it’s Sweet Dolly,” I said, using the nickname she gave me when I was little. She must not have my number programmed into her cell.
My grandmother immediately recounted her day—how she was watching boring TV, that she had walked along the beach in the Gulf like always and didn’t even need a heavy jacket, that the big log in the fire helped heat her house, that tomorrow was bread ministry, that she was dubbed the Potato Lady because she always served the spuds at the church soup kitchen. The details from her quiet life spilled out as if they’d been just waiting for someone to call and listen.
Then—almost out of nowhere—she said, “Thank you for remembering me!” She was nearly in tears.
Her outsized gratitude nearly broke my heart. And her gratitude was an important reminder to cherish your loved ones.
Bringing my grandma close to home
My mom, my husband and I are working on moving my grandma from Alabama to Oregon. She turned 88 last month and needs more care than she’s getting in the South.
As a team, the three of us have been taking steps on finding a supportive, affordable and welcoming place to live. It’s not easy sleuthing out a match for my grandma. She is, after all, one of a kind.
My grandma still does yoga and brags that she can do the splits. She grew up walking in the Illinois snow to school without boots or warm enough clothing, and she pursued education far enough to become a teacher herself. She closes her eyes when she’s remembering details of days gone by, and she laughs with abandon. She squeezes instead of merely hugging. She is kind to a fault—her old cat weighed more than 20 pounds because she couldn’t bear to hear him meow when he wanted more food.
I love my grandma.
She often exhorts me to “Cherish every moment!” especially in times that are trying—when my baby won’t sleep, say. But what I really want her to know is I cherish her.
Don’t hold back. Cherish your loved ones.
I know I don’t call my grandma as often as I should. But every time we talk, I assure her that I think of her every day. I’m grateful for her. And I will continue to love her always, no matter what.
Let’s tell those we care about that we are glad to know them—even if it’s in a cursory way. Make sure that you cherish your loved ones.
Call someone. Text. Write an email. Mail a letter. Ping them on Facebook.
Even if your loved ones don’t say it out loud, they’re probably thinking, “Thank you for remembering me.”