I visited my grandmother this weekend.
Every time I head out into the Blue Ridge Mountains I wonder why I do it so seldom. In many ways, visiting her house is more like going home than visiting my parents’ house–Grandma’s been in that little blue house since I was born, but my parents didn’t move to their current home until my sophomore year of college.
It’s always nice to get in some time with Grandma on my own, without siblings vying for her attention. I love to hear her stories about growing up in upstate New York, going to finishing school (yes, she actually went to finishing school and earned a degree in secretarial work. Ah, a different age), meeting and marrying my grandfather, etc., etc. Stories of a normal life happily lived. It also puts things in perspective. At twenty-five, I’ve got a lot of blank pages left to fill. But Grandma’s looking back from eighty, reading what’s already been set down. In short, yet another of life’s stockpile of over-washed cliches came into focus for me this weekend: it all goes by so fast.
And take your relationships seriously. Grandma shared that wisdom with me this weekend. “Don’t hold grudges,” she says. “You just never know when you’ll never see that person again.” It’s an easy thing to forget at twenty-five: the permanence of loss.
And it can be so easy to take relationships, especially the closest ones, for granted. Mom and dad, siblings, even those “oldest and dearest” friends–they’ll “always” be there, at least when I really need them. But what about when they aren’t anymore? Grandma speaks of so many of her closest relationships (from her generation, at least) in the past tense. It all goes by so fast.