Frozen in Time

I sat at the counter, jaw dropped in awe. As if time had frozen just for this moment. I sat wide eyed staring at my grandmother, Pearl, collapsed on the chocolate brown hardwood floors.

But how did I get here? Let me start from the beginning. My family and I had made our annual trip to Sarasota, Florida to visit my mom’s mother, Grandpa Pearl. This year was different because my dad’s mom, Grandma Maryann joined as well. We were having a great time. Then on the fourth day of our trip, one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood would take place.

My grandmother Pearl and I sat at a rounded glass table right against the window, with the fun shining on our face, and a deck of cards sitting on the table. While deciding what game to play, I offered to shuffle. I began to lay all the cards on the table mixing them all around; at the time I didn’t know how to truly shuffle. As my grandmother saw my six-year-old self, shuffle the cards so childlike, she offered to teach me how to do a bridge. I was ecstatic, because I had always wanted to learn. After she demonstrated how to properly shuffle, I practiced. Each time getting faster. I peaked my head up from shuffling and in the blink of an eye, my Grandmother fall back out of her chair and collapse into the floor. Blood splattered all up the white wall, and pooled beneath her. I knew exactly what to do in this situation, get an adult, and call 911. I had practically been told that my entire life. But my body felt motionless, and time stopped completely. It felt as if I were sitting at that glass table forever, when in reality only a few seconds had passed. My eyes were in shock and my hands were trembling, but I took all the strength in my body and ran as fast as the wind to my grandma Maryann. She was in the shower at the time, but I screamed that it was an emergency and I needed her now. She got out of the shower in the matter of seconds, and I grabbed her hand as we sprinted in the direction of my Grandma Pearl. My grandma Maryann handled it all from here, she called 911, and the paramedics came within minutes. As I saw my grandma Pearl being taken away on a stretcher, I felt helpless.

In the following years my Grandmother, Pearl, never truly regained her health and battled Parkinson’s disease. Therefore she spent a tremendous amount of times in and out of the hospital, and in a nursing home. Through this last year she spent the majority of her life in and out of the hospital, my family would visit her as often as possible. While she was in the hospital I would play card games with her and spend hours with my family hanging out with her. We all cherished every second we got with her.

Sadly, this past December she passed away. When I first heard the news I didn’t feel like it was real, but as the days went on I felt overwhelmed with sadness. I heard my family around me wishing they could hug her one last time or just simply tell her that they loved her. And for a very long time I felt that way too, overcome with regret. I wondered why I didn’t tell her that every time I saw her, but as time went on those feelings began to fade.

On the day of the funeral, it was decided I would read an excerpt from the Bible at the service. It was the first time I ever had to read in front of an audience of more than one hundred people. As I walked up to podium my hands shook and legs trembled beneath me. But as I started to read a cool wave of relief flooded over me. After the service was over I spoke with my mom and Aunt Shelly, they told me how proud Grandma Pearl would have been. They told me how special I was to my grandmother; how much it meant to her that I was never scared and never saw her only as being sick.  I had spent more time with her than my cousins and as a result we shared a special bond. After hearing these words from my mom and Aunt Shelly I wasn’t as sad, I didn’t feel any regret, and I knew she was in better place. I valued my grandma’s life, and never took her for granted. Through this experience I have realized that people can be taken away at any moment, and while we cannot control that, we can control how we do treat them while they are alive. We can treat them with kindness, cherish the time we get with them, and above all love them for who they are.


 

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