I find myself crying today.
My friend Kathy has a grandmother that she loves, admires, and cherishes, like all people should do with their grandmothers. Kathy’s grandmother is very close to 100 years old. A big celebration has been planned to mark this milestone birthday, and invitations have been sent. And then Grandma Angelina had a stroke. She was taken to the hospital on Sunday, and it has been determined that at some point, she has had a heart attack as well that has done some serious damage to a heart that has loved for almost 100 years. As you can imagine, a heart that old has been broken a few times – because when you live to be 100, you suffer a lot of loss, a lot of sadness. But if you are surrounded by people who love you and cherish you, like Kathy does, those kinds of heart breaks heal. That is not always the case when a 100 year old heart suffers a heart attack.
Reading Kathy’s painful updates on Grandma Angelina’s declining condition has brought up the sad memories of my dad in hospice. And the lack of time I had to prepare for Bean’s death. And how much I miss them both. My dad missed so much by not being here. Brighid has grown so much in the three years since he’s been gone, and Eilis has just gotten smarter and prettier. He never even got to know Granuaile, except for the few minutes he held her as he lay dying in hospice. I think he’d think she was funny. And Bean – well, she would hardly recognize Brighid now, so grown up and almost done with high school. And with Eilis barely 2 when she died, she has missed out on so much fun! She never knew there would even be a Granuaile.
There is never a good time to die. Not for those left behind, anyway. Whether you have 100 years with the person you love, or 100 minutes, every passing crushes your heart. We can fill it back up with the new memories we create and the new happinesses we experience, but every once in a while, a crack opens back up and some of the air escapes, and you feel crushed all over again.