Hope is a theme of my life the past 5 days, more now than ever in my life before. Sure, I hoped that I would get into the college of my choice (check), hope that my high school crush would call, hope that I could make it to the gas station in Baltimore before running out of gas on the way down to school. But, this new hope, is a new kind of hope, and a kind of hope that is tireless, sad, and one that I don't want to have to deal with ever again, though I know I will.
These past 5 days I have been hoping for my Grandmother to recover from a car accident she was in on Thursday evening, driving to the grocery store in Naples, Florida. She has been in intensive care ever since, and my heart rate and stress level have not gone down a tinge since hearing the news early Friday morning.
My Grandmother is amazing. She is hilarious, kind, intelligent and witty. She has been married to my Grandfather for 62 years and they make an amazing couple and set of Grandparents. They have 4 children and 9 grandchildren, including 1 great-grandchild who is as cute as the sun in bright. She has complete control in complete chaos when the entire family descends on their lake house in New Hampshire in August, making full breakfasts and dinners each day for the ever changing crowds. She plays bridge regularly, and would often bet her car when playing me in Gin Rummy. (I never won the car because I could never beat her).
My fondest memory so far is when Nana was staying with me and my brothers while my parents went somewhere for the weekend. Nana had a rental car and we had a plan to go grocery shopping. The only thing was, we couldn't figure out how to get the headlights on. We had the windshield wipers going, the horn honking and the car beeping, but those blasted lights would NOT go on. We just laughed and laughed, the two of us with tears streaming down our face. We couldn't contain ourselves and finally gave up. We ended up having pizza delivered and going to the store in the morning when we didn't need headlights. We still laugh about it to this day and I always smile when I think of it.
That same year, the new kitchen renovation was completed and it was my job along with Nana to put the spices in the spice drawer. My mom wanted them alphabetical, so we thought it would be an easy enough task. However, since the precedence was made that Nana and I do nothing well but giggling together, the task of alphabetizing the spice drawer drew laughter not only from the two of us, but anyone else in the vicinity of the kitchen that day. Nana's laughter is contagious and while deciding if Nutmeg went before or after Oregano, the giggles set in, only to be stopped when the task was completed and the family grew tired of hearing our spelling mishaps.
So, what I am really hoping for, on top of a full recovery, is for another lifetime full of giggle filled afternoons, playing gin-rummy and deciding that neither of us would make another drawer of items be in alphabetical order ever. I want my children to hear their Great Grandmothers laugh, to be beaten in a game of Gin Rummy and watch a woman who never went to college keep up in conversation like she has been a business woman her whole life.
In reality, she got pregnant with my mom when she was 19, and had 3 children in a row in 1947, '48 and '49, and another in '61 and was an amazing Mother and wife and Grandmother, taking care of all the details for everyone including my Grandfather. She is a tireless leader of my mothers side of the family, and has more friends than you could ever imagine. If she had a facebook page she would be accepting friend requests for days and years. She and my Grandfather haven't lived outside Philadelphia since the 70's, but inevitably when they are visiting they see people they know everywhere, mostly due to my Grandmothers warm smile and amazing ability to remember names and faces. They both have long standing roots in the community, and mostly the weather (which doesn't allow for 12 months of golf) keeps them from living here today. The warm air of Florida is great for them, and my Grandfather is still active on the golf course and in thier community down there. My Grandmother still plays bridge regularly with a group down there, and is as sharp as she ever was.
Basically, I cannot imagine her not in my life, and this hope that I am feeling is as selfish as ever, but I want her here for me. For my kids, for their weddings and their kids. I am asking for anyone who reads this, to keep my Nana in your prayers. Thanks.