I don't use language on this blog very often (if at all?) but this one may have a curse word or two. In fact, let's just get the first one out of the way: shitty. The last week of my life was a shitty week. Without going into great detail, my grandpa passed away at age 94, and I have some other personal things going on that I'm not comfortable sharing publicly at this time. It has been a shitty week. I have felt such a wide range of emotions that I have started to feel numb from it all. And that's okay.
But moving on, what I wanted to share with you is one of my take-aways from this past week. I have spent some time reflecting upon what really makes life meaningful, and what doesn't. We all know the saying, "Money doesn't buy happiness." There are so many variations of that quote, some finishing with "...but it can buy jet skis, and have you ever seen someone not happy while on a jet ski?" While that may be true, being on a jet ski is a temporary happiness. You can't live on a jet ski forever! At some point, you have to come off of the water and go back to the reality of life.
When my grandpa passed away last week, he left my 93-year-old grandma behind. All I could think about last week was getting home to her and making sure that she was okay. Because their motto has always been, "As long as we're together." And boy, have they lived up to it. My grandpa spent almost 2 years in the Army during the Korean war before they were married, and they exchanged letters the WHOLE TIME. In fact, they still have every letter they ever sent to one another and spent the last decade or so reading through them and sharing some of them with the family. My grandma likes to reflect upon one specific letter in which grandpa wrote about them getting married and having 4 kids running around the yard. And wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happened!
The funeral happened over the weekend. My grandma was in awe of the turnout. She couldn't believe how many people had come to the visitation, even some people she hadn't seen in years or didn't feel like she had known very well. She underestimated how special she and my grandpa have been not only to their family, but to their friends and to the community that they lived in.
I spent a lot of time with my grandma last week, before, during, and after the funeral. She shared countless memories of my grandpa, friends, family, trips she has taken, items that she has collected over the years, etc. She really drove home the saying that "money doesn't buy happiness" without actually saying it. She had "the new years gang" that would get together every year without skipping a beat and they had the best time together. She shared moments of her relationship with grandpa that really defined them, moments that I hadn't ever heard of before. She told me she hopes that my marriage is as happy as hers has been because she couldn't have asked for anything better. She said that she has no regrets and feels that she has lived a full life. She feels lucky to have kids and grandkids that not only gave her and grandpa the time of day, but really paid attention to them and made sure to see them as often as we possibly could.
I think that this week will be really hard for my grandma. The services have concluded. Everyone has gone back home to their lives and their families. But grandma is now facing the reality of a life without my grandpa. It's very sad, to say the least. But she knows that she and my grandpa have experienced the true riches of life - love, family, friends, experiences, memories, and more that I'm sure I don't quite understand yet.
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
- Mae West
It's amazing to hear her reflect upon her life. It makes me begin to understand the things that truly matter, the things that we will all hopefully have a chance to reflect upon as we grow older and more experienced. I personally spend a lot of time watching TV and playing games on my phone. It's not that I should throw out my TV or never touch my phone again. But maybe I should turn the TV off or put my phone away a little more often and give myself the opportunity to experience what it's like to truly LIVE. Have more date nights with my husband, take my dogs for more walks, get together with friends more frequently, go home to see my family a little more often. We all have something we could do better in life. No one does it perfectly. But to live a life without regretting the way we spent it when it comes to an end? That's priceless.