The Lesson I learned This Week From My 97 Year Old Grandmother
"I'll tell you my one regret." What a great lesson this week from a woman who has been on this planet for 97 years. If you overthink and worry like me, you need to read this!
The Native American people revered their elders, they were the heads of the tribe and respected like living Gods. Youngsters would stare pie eyed while listening to their stories around fires and the warriors wished they could be them. These days, we find our elders wasting away in nursing homes they call "Rehabilitation Centers" or "Retirement Communities."
My Grandmother, Anna is 97 and is currently in a nursing home. She has a beautiful apartment all set up to help her with mobility while also allowing her to keep her independence. She's always been a very strong woman even after losing my Grandfather four years ago. They were happily married for 68 years. She said to me once that she thought God forgot to come get her and that she's just sitting in his waiting room. This completely broke my heart. Any family member in a position of making a decision for someone's well being will always have reservations regardless of knowing it's the best for them.
This week I decided to stop in for a visit. We chatted about the weather for a while and how she wants me to make sure I wear a warm hat to work every day. For a reason that escapes me now, we went from talking about snow, to a deep conversation about her life, including regrets and advice.
I asked her one thing she would've done differently. She said she would've worried less, that it served no purpose and only made her feel bad. She said "nothing seemed worth worrying about after the love of your life leaves for war and you're left alone pregnant for the first time wondering if he's being shot at." I had no idea she gave birth with him overseas in WW2. Her mother and father were dead and she only had his parents to lean on. She said that she knew he would be leaving but had no idea when or where he was going. One day while cleaning in the apartment, she heard his trademark, piercing whistle coming from outside. She ran to the window to see him loading his sailor bag into the back of a truck, jumping in and sitting on it while looking up at her and blowing a kiss. She didn't see him again for a year. She breathed for letters because it was the only sign he was still alive. She said she would first look for the date on the letter and mark it down keeping track in a book. Amazing that after years of being their Granddaughter that story just never came up. Life is a beautiful struggle and tribulations don't change throughout the years, they are just different. Everyone has a story and I hope someday someone will want to hear mine when I'm older and alone.