I have to start by saying that I wrote this a little over a week ago. It was just days before they put my grandma into the hospice where she'd inevitably spend her last week. All I can remember is hearing my mother's voice crack over the phone, and how it awoke this terrible hurt inside. So I wrote this blog, and kept revisiting it but dared not to post. It was just so heavy. I didn't even want to think it, let alone put the thought out there.
But that changed today. That changed when I was walking home as I talked to my dad, telling me that grandma's blood pressure had dropped so low that it was just a matter of time, hours really. It changed when my mom beeped in on his line and I knew what it meant before he called me back to tell me. It made this post more important.
So dear readers, I leave you the post below and take away from it what you will. And raise a glass for Virgy, who's resting now.
For as long as I could remember, I itched to try new places. Live somewhere unfamiliar. So after college, I moved to San Diego for three years. I quickly fell in love with it's prefect climate, sandy beaches and the ability to easily travel for fun, weekend get-aways - wether it was Las Vegas or Palm Springs.
I am more than grateful for that experience.
But it was a romance that ended quickly when I felt the need to move back home to the MidWest begin to stew inside.
People didn't understand why I would give up an almost vacation-like lifestyle for the harsh winters of Chicago, and trade in year-round flip-flops for fur-lined boots. Even now, usually with a tone of confusion, I get asked - do you miss it?
I've always kindly smiled and said no which - for what it's worth - is true. But finally, this is why.
I see what my mom goes through. Everyother day she drives across town to tend to her mother, my grandmother. She takes her to doctor appoints, cleans her home and pays her bills. She is in a constant race against time to spend every and any moment she can with my grandmother as her life starts to slip away. She doesn't sleep. She puts all that she is into connecting with her mom in ways she won't be able to in days, weeks or months from now, no matter how much it eats at and exhausts her. And even between tears and restless nights, she doesn't give out, or give up - which is admirable in more ways than you can imagine.
And I know, many years from now, I'll go through the same experience with my parents. It's something that makes my chest lock up tight if I even entertain the thought - because my family means that much to me. And that time between now and then is something I don't intend on wasting. I know they are getting older and one day I may start a family of my own, all things that will change the course of how much time we have together, and how it's spent. So living in Chicago allows me to get home whenever I want in a few short, open road hours, even if it's just to sit on the deck with my family telling the same stories we always do. It's cliche, but you have to enjoy the time you have with the ones you love, every minute, before it's gone.
I'm grateful for where I am now. This is why.
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