When I was younger I always dreamed about what being 21 would look like. And then 25…surely 25 would be the golden age where everything would be right in the world and I’d have everything together. Life would be perfect. I never dreamed about what it would be like to be 27.
Shocker: it’s no different than any other age Although I suppose I’m one year older and one year wiser, right?
Yesterday started off great! Nate took me to Panera Bread for breakfast where we split a cinnamon roll the size of my head:
And I ordered my favorite sandwich, the breakfast power sandwich. You guys, it’s not to say that the other Panera breakfast options are bad, but this one is just SO GOOD. The sharp Vermont cheddar gets me every time…in fact I’m drooling just thinking of it now.
We got to work where there were more cinnamon rolls and a birthday cake for me (READ: SUGAR OVERLOAD) and all of the sweet people I work with were so kind and stopped by to say hi and wish me a happy birthday.
However, around mid-day I got a call from my dad saying that my grandfather’s health is rapidly deteriorating. Enough so that my dad and his siblings and their spouses are all flying out to California to be with him and my grandmother. I had no idea this was happening until he was actually IN California, which definitely threw me for a loop. Instantly I was transported back to a similar situation 8 years ago.
My Mimi had had colon cancer for a long time, and we all knew that it was bad, but she was so joyful about celebrating life in the moment. I loved that she would lay in her bed and talk about totally inappropriate things she’d seen on Oprah like it wasn’t a big deal that my sister was barely in high school. Hey, she was our Mimi – who cared what she talked about?! We were just glad to hear her!
A few months later (a week before my 19th birthday) we got a call saying that she’d only been given a few months to live, so my mom and I picked up and drove down to the Texas Hill Country to the hospital she was at. When we got in that night Mimi was awake with a smile on her face and a hug for everyone. Her husband and daughters and I huddled around her, soaking in everything we could. That night I slept on the floor of the hospital outside of her room.
The next morning I woke up to hear her moaning and looked around for a nurse or my mom or her sisters. No one. I went into the room. Mimi needed to go to the bathroom, so I pulled the portable potty over and helped her to it. I’m not going to describe what I saw, but it was enough to make me choke back tears while I helped her. And I will remember that forever. At this point she was incoherent, and by that afternoon I was being rushed into her room to say good-bye. I don’t know if she could hear me, but I spoke about how I loved her, how I loved that she would yell and curse just because, how her booming laughter brightened my day, how watching her with her daughters made me so happy to have her as a Mimi, and how her marriage to my Grandpa was something beautiful to see. I watched as my mom, aunts, and grandfather cried around me, and how we all breathed a sigh of relief for Mimi when she was gone. She wasn’t hurting anymore. She was happy. And she was with Jesus.
The next couple of weeks were a blur. And to be honest I don’t think it really hit me what I had experienced until a few months later. To this day I can’t hear “It Is Well With My Soul” without sobbing and calling my sister. That was my first true experience with death, and even though I know that Mimi is happy now, it’s taken a while to let her spot in my heart be filled with joy again.
All that to say I’m heartbroken to know that my Papa is in a similar situation now. I wish airfare wasn’t so expensive to fly to California. I wish I could go hug him, just in case it’s the last chance I get. I wish I could see him smack my Grandma on the butt and call her a hottie one more time. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do that, but I do know that he is being loved on and cared for by his family as we speak. So Papa: whatever happens, I love you. I hope that you are comfortable and happy and able to smile and rejoice in the life around you. And just know that when you leave us, whenever that is, you will be leaving a group of people who love you so very much. But we will rejoice in your incredible life and give thanks that we got to know you for even a second on this earth. I love you!
Sorry guys, it was a hard birthday and I had to just write. Just document. Just spill my guts a little. Thank goodness I have an incredible husband who was willing to change plans because I was too sad to get dressed up and go to the nice Italian restaurant we’d planned on. All I wanted at the end of the day yesterday was to put on workout clothes and go to Rock Bottom Brewery for nachos and a sampling of fried green chile mac ‘n’ cheese. I wanted to sit outside and talk to my husband. I wanted to eat something familiar. And he blessed me by letting me pick anything I wanted. Thank you sweetie, you are the best husband I could ever dream of!
I know this post is pretty heavy, but my hope and prayer for every single person who visits this page is that you would tell the people you love that you LOVE them. That you would celebrate life to its fullest. That you wouldn’t waste a single second of your time here in a dead-end job, a crappy relationship, disordered thinking and/or eating. That you would love, laugh, forgive, cry, and never forget that you are a beautiful, amazing creation just the way you are.
I love you guys