Friday, October 29, 2010

Live Before You Die

Tonight a group of us family members went to the fall festival at my grandmother's assisted living home. She is in the memory care unit and battling the ending stages of alzheimer's. This was the second time I had seen her in her new home; the first was at her birthday party last week. Now that I'm back in my hometown, I am trying to make up for time lost by going to family functions and getting reaquainted.

I have held back tears both times. Not just seeing my grandma, the lady who would chase me around the house when I was younger, stand next to me in her kitchen while I was "cooking" (she really just let me pour a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and stir it up until I had an awful looking concoction), and gave me a bouquet of roses when I graduated high school, but seeing all of the grandmas and grandpas who did those same things once, too.

Now they are sitting in wheelchairs, unaware or completely confused about the goings-on around them. Some look sad. Some look angry. Some look completely lost.

I really got to thinking about life and what it all means. While alzheimer's is a horrible and unfortunate disease to get, all of our fate was sitting in that room tonight. We all get old, and we may get a little wonky, and we'll be fragile with decades behind us. And I thought...

It's true what they say. All we really have is right now. It's not the car we have, the house we live in, the expensive clothes or the who's who among aquaintances. It's right now. It's the breath we take while we're taking the hand of someone we love. It's smiling at a stranger across the room. It's telling stories of years past and laughing hysterically whether you were there or not. It's not about love or jobs lost. It's not about a petty fight or even a serious fight. It's about right now; enjoying right now while it's here to enjoy and while we have the ability to enjoy it.

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