I visited my Grandparents yesterday, my husband and I travelled up the M6 North singing along to our favourite songs all the way! This journey has become a regular one since both my Grandparents health declined drastically over recent months. They are both touching 90-years-old and are struggling with the day-to-day things now, simple chores like, washing, cleaning and cooking.
This has been extremely hard to observe with each visit. We do what we can for them as often as we can to make their lives easier, we do their shopping for them, clean the house and fix anything they need fixing. They have daily visists from the local health care to ensure they take their tablets daily as they kept forgetting. They have a nurse who comes in twice a week now too. They so look forward to our visits, as since my Grandad had to give up his driving license over a year ago they are practically housebound now. My Grandad has chronic asthma and cannot walk very well these days and my grandma has terrible memory loss and suffers with heart problems.
Having only found my grandparents five years ago, I always knew my time with them would be short. I have treasured my time with them and made the most of every single moment. Yesterday we took them both for a lovely meal not too far from their house, my grandma, still, loves a glass of gin and tonic or a tall cool stella artois! We clinked our glasses and toasted to life, I felt so sad. They are so young at heart and my grandma says the mind is willing but the body is not able. We talked about times gone by and she told me how she met my Grandad and how they used to be motorbike enthusiasts in their twenties! They drove around the whole width and breadth of our country on their motorbike! I tried to picture them young and fancy free flying down the motorway together… They reminded me how precious life is and how it fly’s by in an instant. My grandma hates being old, although, she has embraced it as best she can; however, she said she never got used to it.
As a couple, my grandparents came through the second world war together, my grandfather flew over Germany in his fighter Dakota dropping propaganda leaflets during the war and told me how some of his buddies were unlucky and got shot down by the Germans. I am in awe of my grandparents, they have lived so much, and made the very most of their life. Travelling the world, exploring many cultures and embracing them too. I looked at them both with a tear in my eye and wished I had known them many years before. Nevertheless, like my grandma advised me, we cannot undo the past, but we can make the most of the time we have left together. My grandfather piped up over dessert! “We are in God’s waiting room now Dawn and we are at the front of the queue,” I didn’t know how to respond, because I know he was speaking the truth. The reality of his words remained with me all the way home.
I thought about the meaning of life on our entire two-hour journey. I questioned so many things and tried to make sense of the circle of life. It is true what they say, life goes full circle in the end. You come into this world needing help feeding, changing, and nurturing. Then, when you reach the end of your life, you need the same care. How strange this circle of life is, we all question life for different reasons, what I have learned is this: Life is made of singular moments and we need to make those moments count. I once heard a very poignant quote by an unknown author and it reads as follows:
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away…