I tell ya, facing the prospects of death make life seem that much more precious. This weekend, we endured a health scare with my Grandma. My Grandma and I have come a long way from where we once were. She was this miserable old woman who I did not look forward to being around when I was growing up. As time passed and I became more mature, that woman imparted some serious wisdom upon me. My brother and I would spend weekends in Queens and her and I'd lay up in bed just talking until she dozed off. My insomnia would keep me awake, and I'd listen to her boring talk radio shows til sunup. I'll never forget those nights.
In my adult life, I've spent hours talking with my grandma; lotioning her little hands and legs for her when arthritis wouldn't let her do it on her own. She makes dirty little jokes now, when she wouldn't even look at a couple kissing years before. You see, I think my grandmother used to loathe living. At a certain point in her life she just existed and wished to die. She'd gripe and complain about aches and pains and hoped that God would take her away. Then, one day we decided to throw her a surprise party. All of us flew in from our respective states and screamed (gently) as she slowly walked into the back yard. We ate, we laughed, we joked and shared photos. Grandma yelled out "Lawd (Lord), mi nuh wah dead again! Dis nice!" It literally brought a tear to my eye. From that day forward, she was a little better.
And better, and better. Now I don't even think she remembers those days. And I'm glad she doesn't. Each year she gets a little funnier, a little more jovial, more lighthearted and positive. When I told her I was pregnant - I flew up to NY just to deliver the news. It was something I wanted to feel; a reaction I wanted to see for myself. I had to bring Boyfriend with me to join in on the excitement. She didn't chastise me or try to shame me. Her eyes grew wide (and we all know how chinky they are) and she gasped! Asked me if I was happy, asked me if he's a good man. Threatened him with violence if he doesn't take care of me. I was overfilled with joy.
The day she went into the hospital with heart failure was a major blow for me. Mommy took my latest ultrasound and showed it to her. Said, "you've got to be strong for the baby." Her first great grandchild. An amazing victory for a woman who didn't fully enjoy life until her later years. Afraid that we'd grow up to be "cruffs" or no-goods. Look at us now, Grandma! College grads, sorority sisters, businessmen, military veterans - soon to be mother. You did good. Don't worry. Nuh worry yuh head, we ah go behave!
Life, I tell ya. I appreciate it more and more as the sun rises each day. You just never know what's next.
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