My husband’s grandma is dying. We drove up and said our goodbyes tonight. She is the most amazing woman, a true legacy. A woman known for her faith and traditions and open arms. We left knowing this will be the last time we see her in this life. I watch him cry as he hugs her, as he goes to leave, and all the way home.
My own mother is watching her mother’s health deteriorate. My grandma has an array of health issues but to sum it up, she isn’t the mom my mother remembers. She makes up stories and forgets real memories. My mother visits daily, to take care of her and to savor the life she has left. I watch her remind her of the truth, remind her of her life, and remind her of her love.
My daughter just turned two. She plays Cinderella and sings and rocks her babies. She kisses both great-grandmas. She wipes her daddy’s tears and hugs her Mamaw tight. I watch her innocence, her light, her curiosity for all life has to offer, despite the hardness happening around her.
I know our time will come.
Always sooner than we wish. The time she is sandwiched between taking care of me and watching her own children and grandchildren. Our daughters and sons will be introduced to this inevitable heartbreak. The heartbreak caused by good memories coming to an end, the heartbreak of final goodbyes, the heartbreak of the unknown future.
Before we left grandma tonight, she reminded my daughter, “Say your prayers always. See you later.”
So we wait.
We wait for our own mothers to age with the hope we have plenty of time left. We live with the innocence and the light and the curiosity of our own children. We create traditions with both our mothers and their grandchildren, savoring every moment we can in the gift of time.
We watch memories be made. We watch our daughters and sons bloom and grow. We watch the mistakes they’ll learn from. We watch the innocence dwindle in their eyes and the aging happen in the mirror in front of us.
We say our prayers.
We pray for our parents’ health and well-being. We pray to be the legacies our children and grandchildren will remember. We pray to leave memories worth a hard goodbye. We pray we did them justice.
We pray, when the time comes, they can teach theirs to wait and watch and pray, knowing this is the cycle of a life well lived.