My wife’s grandmother passed away yesterday. Her father’s mother. And so, predictably, memories of my own mother’s passing came flooding back, like a wave of water finding a crack in a levy. My wife described her grandmother as gracious and generous, the kind of grandma who went out of her way for her grandkids. Sitting in darkness last night, my wife and I huddled beneath hand-crafted blankets. With the kids finally asleep, we quietly whispered about some of the similarities between her wonderful grandmother and my beautiful mom. There seemed to be several important and wonderful ones.
Death is a strange thing. Especially in its permanence. For me, I find my mom’s departure to be something I must constantly remind myself actually happened. That yes, it’s real. That yes, on that terrible day, April 21, 2017, my father and I had to slowly and reluctantly leave her in a hospital bed- because she had passed. That she would not be calling anymore. That she would not be flying across the country anymore toting mounds of presents for my children.
According to my wife, her grandma specialized in small acts of generosity that really made a grandchild feel loved. My mom, too, definitely specialized in acts of generosity that made all those around her feel loved. During her last visit, she arrived with an entire suitcase filled with gifts- word searches, crafts, stuffed animals, games. That morning I held my iPhone in video mode to capture the ecstatic joy she brought to the faces of my little girls. I watched as they climbed like little monkeys onto the guest bed to embrace their “Tutu” (a Hawaiian word for grandma), so happy for this now rare opportunity to see her. Although she must have been feeling such exhaustion from the previous evening’s travel, Mom buoyantly greeted them, hugged them, asked them how they were doing.
A year now nearly past, I continue to hang onto what there is to hang onto in regards to my mom. Her lessons. Her love. Her generous way with people. And I feel so sad for my father-in-law, as he is just beginning this journey; and my wife, who begins her grieving process.
I suppose incumbent upon us in the cycle of life is an obligation, an obligation to carry forward the best of what those who came before us taught and lived. From these two amazing women, I am sure my wife and I will work to emulate their generosity, a crown jewel of their humanity. They will be missed.