Today as my boys slept and I found myself on the open road driving to Gigi’s I also finally found my way home. My husband works alot so as his wife I made the promise to myself to make an effort to spend time with them. I am sure we are all guilty of letting time slip away. Until you hit 70 and onwards take is not the obstacle it our desire to want to achieve more. We think the answer to lifes problems is acquiring more money. Now as the sun beat down on me and the wind hit my hear I imagined what it was that elderly individuals focus on. With the looming sound of the clock I wonder what it is they desire most. I bet you the all say time. But what good is time if you have nobody to share it with. And what good are those memories if you are the only one who reminisces.
Trying to observe my surroundings (It was my first time driving out there by myself) I got lost in my own memories as the music from my past took over the airways. Being thrust back to a time when my grandparents were alive I felt a tear roll down my cheek. I used to love spending time with them as no matter what or who I was they always loved me. The teenager in me will tell you I did it for the guaranteed $20 my grandma always gave. You should know I still made every effort to visit long after the mind went and the 20s were no longer. I can still hear my Grandma’s voice as she told me to visit often. She knew her time was coming. I still see her standing at the top of the stairs in her grey kitten heel pumps. My only regret is not running back up those stairs for one last hug.
After an hour and a half on the road. I finally made it! (It should have been 45 min). Getting my son and the dogs up into the house his Gigi finally made it into the room. She appeared even more frail then I ever remembered my Grandma to be. Macular degeneration was already taking her site. I remembered when I first met her 3 years ago. My how quickly time ravishes your body when it really wants to take over. Her hand feels frail inside my own and I reminded that throughtout the passage of time she was once a strong viral woman who raised two beautiful daughters. I don’t know much about her storey. I know she was seperated from her first love. They were moved to the East Coast in order to keep them apart. Both sweethearts went on to marry and live these beauty lives with each other. Both became widowed as they lost their spouse’s to cancer. I am not entirely sure what made them move back to Alberta. According to my mom in law they lived in Scarborough. ( To be honest the only time I have ever heard about Scarborough was during my fascination for true crime. Back then you had to read about the tragic stories. To have your mind twist and turn and try to bring to life these horrible incidences always captivates the young mind. We are at the most impressionable state trying to find our way in life. The point is the only time I remember hearing about Scarborough before was during the whole Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka trial). I am doing a contest on the East coast and invited my mother in law to come with me but she had no desire to go back).
Lately I have been so engrossed with learning all that I can about the people in my life. Not for being nosey. There are so many reasons why I want this to be a weekly visit with my grandmother in law and my son’s great grandma. There are days when you think they will live for another 100 years (my favourite version). Or some days you would swear that you could hear death knocking on the front door. Without knowing exactly how much time that either of them have left. If you wanted to get kriptic I could say I have no idea about how much time I have either. Listening to my husband speak so highly of his grandparents I knew I needed to step up my visits. More so that they know that they were appreciated but also you never know if there is a tip, secret or regret lingering on their lips. As hard as the visit will always be for me it has to be 1000 times harder for them. What I notice and have been noticing is that we all race around so fast in self indulgent activities. I wonder how much change can happen when everybody becomes surrounded with love.
The last time we were out there I swear I could smell the presence of Death lingering in the room. My husband’s grandfather was outside working around the house (I told him after no more hard working that they have us to do that style of work) when he claimed his lungs got filled with dust. He liked so tiny in his over six foot frame. I get nervous in these situations so I always take there hand and hold on. Kind of if you are going to leave like that you best be taking me with you. There is so much pride that comes from a person that has managed to make it to 80 and beyond. What the world sees as being bold and curt I have come to see it as frustration with the rest of the world. Unless we have being staring down the hands of the life clock we would have no idea how one would feel. You would be frustrated if there was any goals that you left untouched. You wold feel sadness of those that used to come and visit you in your prime but have now literally left you out to pasture. Imagine losing your sight. The hobbies you loved such as quilting, sewing and reading become a thing of the past. If one becomes trapped in their own head isn’t it safe that they most be replaying something of value inside of there?
The way I talk and they way I engage is totally different when I am out at the acreage. Even with the loss of her sight she is still able to identify every bird that comes to her feeders. One for the chubby little chickadees and one for all the other winged friends that come over for a snack. My favourite will always be the Golden Finch’s but I also have a love for the Red winged black birds. I talk with discriptive sentences so she can properly engage in the converstation. I tell her to the colors that her great grandson is wearing and I even bring back things for her to feel. It was during this visit that I began to realize mabye my true calling will help me become that woman I so desire to be. In addition to compassion and sympathic I also want to be wise. When people say that she is wise for beyond her years I get it now. Like the previous book I read if one surrounds themselves with the life that they want then it should be easy to manifest it into being. The life I truly want now seems obtainable if I make minor decisions.
My afternoon with Gigi was spent on the porch enjoying the sun. Being as it was my first visit we just enjoyed each other’s company. I ensured her there would be weekly visits. Taking my new role seriously as wife and mother I have to accommodate my husband’s grandparents to my week. They shouldn’t be left alone because my husband has taken his role seriously to provide for us.
In order for any of us to grow and evolve into the person we were born to be we have to take action. I will admit. I have never been a wife before. Being able to realize that as my husband’s partner my role also extends out to him. His schedule keeps him away from us 99% of the time. I factor in sleep as being away as hes not engaging with us just recovering for the next day. When I look at our relationship as such now I can see the error of my eyes. Behind every strong man is a stronger woman. Yes I dont need a many to survive. I already have the tools to survive somewhat on my own. What I need now is the tools to thrive in my relationship.
Looking at Gigi and her 3rd husband of over 30 years I know she has so much to share with me. No wonder why older people get so grumpy we keep telling them that their feelings and they way lived are no longer relevant. I am merely suggesting maybe their opinions matter most. This is the last of their generation who witnessed the great depression, assassinations, war and a technology boom we could never possibly understand. These were the people who gathered around the table for home cooked meals that came from the garden. Once they succumb to the power of time all those memories, that wisdom, everything they were taught becomes lost unless they pass it on. Listening to here ideas on budgeting and financial planning I thought what would be the harm in trying. There are computer programs and apps I place to do what she suggests. I am excited to see if we can grow our net worth as a family given her tips.
As the hours passed and we just chatted Gigi told me we best be on our way. It wasn’t anything more than her wanting to miss traffic. She also mentioned that she wish she had something to give us. I laughed and said she already gave me a gift…her time and wisdom. She once again went over how to budget and get my family on track. So for the month of August I asked my husband to collect all of our receipts. At first he was hesitant because I think he thought I was trying to calculate how much he smokes. All I want is to see how we spend and to try and be more financially prosperous as a family.
Realistically it’s just busy work but maybe it will help bring us closer. Talking to my husbands grandmother it gave me a sense of pride. I could see he had deep roots and a family that loved and supported him unconditionally. Family can be ruthless and turn your back on you in an instant. The love of these grandparents is unconditional and true. I most definetly will make this into a weekly occurence. Our minds think alike and any knowledge she can pass on is worth its weight in gold.
Reflecting back on my Afternoon with Gigi I lost myself in the words of the music. On a subconscious level I was overcome with emotion. With years no longer promised and months sometimes days that pass I realize the wealth of information just waiting to expire. I wanted to expand my network to include others who might want to chat. I thought about those sentenced to death row when they know the exact time when their end will arise. With our elders there time is not guaranteed. Their lives validated through only their memories until for some time takes those too. I wonder if they had an impartial 3rd person who made an effort to have tea and bring treats with them what knowledge they could share. The experience and knowledge I crave can be found in books but it also can be found in human interaction as well.
With Fall looming on when depression begins to rise I reached out to a retirement home. I am curious if there is an interest in “Afternoon tea with Gigi”. The idea of sitting with a group yo talk about their upbringing, their family, just anything they can remember. Like where were you when JFK was assassinated? What for you was a turning point in history? I truly care of the social impact that occurs when was in impacted by these events. These stories I read and books I cherish are always biased on some level. I am curious to learn and chat with these woman I aspire to be. I wealth of knowledge and a beacon of hope because it is the ones who lived and survived who can best tell the tale. I simply want to share in their expeeiences.