With our new date upon us, I was quickly trying to arrange everything to be as organized as possible. Tying up loose ends at work. Putting Taryn to sleep with a sweet bear that played music to give her comfort in the hospital in case her eyes ended up swelling shut. Organizing who was going to watch the boys, what days, letting teachers know the circumstances…. on and on. Amidst all of this, I was reminded of just how out of control we truly are, which of course, is horrible for me at any time given my personality, and even worse given, well, all of the circumstances surrounding my reminder. It was horrific, heartbreaking, and simply put, too much.
This story I’m about to tell, it still haunts my heart sometimes, but I need to get it out to make progress. It was one week before Taryn’s surgery date — exactly. I was at work, and like any other normal day, moving from one meeting to the next. As I closed out the previous meeting, I heard my cell phone vibrate with a text. I didn’t look at it immediately. Finally, as people were transitioning out of the room, I glanced down. The text was from my cousin. He wrote of remembering “grandpa” for the way he always was, and at least he was with grandma now. My heart stopped. What in the world? Did he mean this text for me? Surely not.
Let me start by saying that my grandfather was in his 80’s, but he was so young. He was an inspiration. Going to the gym daily and working as a real estate salesman harder than many 30 somethings do. He was successful, charming, witty, and well liked and loved by all who knew him. He was funny. And he was fit. My grandfather worked out all the time. More than me. Needless to say, he was not old. And I never expected to hear word that his life was in jeopardy.
I abruptly left the conference room, and headed back towards my desk, frantically calling to find out what was going on. I called once, twice, three times and got no answer. I called my mom. No answer. I was shaking not knowing whether something was wrong, or this was a misunderstanding. Oh, how I wanted it to be a misunderstanding.
After what felt like years, my cousin called me back as I sat shaking in my cubicle, with my team staring at me. I grabbed the phone and walked towards the back door of our office. And that’s when my heart collapsed.
He was gone. My grandpa had a condo in Palm Springs. As I mentioned, he was fit, and he was out on his early morning walk. A walk with a flashlight in hand, light colored clothes, and reflective shoes. None the less, he was hit as he crossed the street, at the corner just near his condo. He survived the ambulance ride to the hospital, but thereafter, he passed. As my cousin shared this with me, I began running towards the back office door, tears streaming down my face and when I reached the cool air outside, I sat down on the step at the entrance, and just cried. “He’s gone,” were the choked up words my cousin shared. He didn’t know that I didn’t yet know the accident happened. My mom and his mom were on a plane already to Palm Springs. My mom hadn’t called yet intentionally. With everything going on she didn’t want to worry me, and at that point, she didn’t know the details of his condition. She already knew clearer than most just how raw I truly was. My sweet cousin had no idea I didn’t know what was going on. And to this day, I don’t ever want him to feel bad for that. In actuality, I feel bad that he was stuck sharing the news when he was simply trying to reach out in comfort.
A couple minutes later I was able to reach my mom. She was such a pillar of strength for me in that moment, as she navigated through the horror. I called George and I drove home feeling absolutely numb. I was tragically reminded just how fleeting life can be, amidst my daily praying for the safety of my precious baby girl. It was all too much. I ate, literally about 12 mini Kit Kats, and crawled into bed, crying myself to sleep. I didn’t know what else to do.
The only solace I could pull from the situation at hand was that heaven had gained an amazing angel. One who I am absolutely certain watched over Taryn during her surgery. Joined together once again with my beautiful grandmother, slow dancing to the sunsets, and making everyone around him laugh. There are not words for how much I love him.
At just one week prior to the dreaded date ahead, my world was crumbling in horrific ways that even my imagination couldn’t muster. It was one of the darkest times I have ever experienced, and yet, somehow, the Lord gave us the strength to put one foot in front of the other.