The morning of October 9th, 1991, we welcomed our third child, another girl, into our family. Taylor Morgan arrived via c-section, and as my husband and I anticipated the imminent arrival of another baby, my parents stood behind a glass window and were able to see their 7th grandchild make her way into this world. What a gift that was for everyone. And what I didn't know at that moment, being able to witness such a thing ,was especially poignant for my father.
As Taylor arrived, Mark said, "Blue eyes honey, this one is going to have blue eyes." I remember that I thought that was a strange thing to say but I didn't pay much attention to it at the time. I was too wrapped up in the magic of my 8 lb 7 oz new arrival.
Later that afternoon, as we gathered in my room, and marveled at this gift of this new life, I glanced over at my mom and realized that my dad was not there. I asked her where he was and this look of sadness suddenly came upon her face and she slowly pulled the curtain around my bed.
She told me that my dad had left. He was boarding a plane, heading to New York. My sweet grandmother, his mom, had passed away that very morning. I was shocked. Saddened beyond words. Did that regret thing that we sometimes do. Sorry that it had been a few weeks since I had spoken to her. Knew it didn't do any good to play that game. Knew that it didn't matter. Knew that my grandmother loved me and I knew, that she knew, that I loved her.
My grandmother and I were very close. A gift that came later in my young adult life. Although I had amazing memories of my grandmother when I was a child, it wasn't until I was given the honor and privileged of caring for her after her stroke, that our bond became all the stronger.
Mark and I lived with my grandmother for 18 months. We became newlyweds and first time parents while there. We became experts in not only baby diaper changing but bed pan changing and sponge baths and recognizing signs of small transient strokes. We had baby monitors for our daughter and had an intercom as well, where my grandmother could call in the middle of the night if she needed us.We watched with sadness what happens when a feisty and seemingly healthy woman, is hit with a catastrophic brain injury. We saw the damage it does to not only the physical body but in some ways, sadder then that, the human spirit.
It was a difficult 18 months as young early 20 somethings but more then that, more than all the difficult laborious times, it was primarily a time of great blessings. The difficult days I do not keep with me, instead I smile and find joy, in a time not laden with burdens but rather overflowing with abundant joy.
Yesterday I celebrated not only the life of my beautiful daughter but also the life of my beautiful grandmother. She was a remarkable woman, who saw tragedy and great sadness over her lifetime, but through it all she possessed a strength of great perseverance. A perseverance that I like to think I have inherited.
And Taylor, she did have blue/gray eyes. That is, up until she was 2 or so, when they oddly and like her older sister Jessica, turned green. I saw my grandmother in those eyes for awhile. And today, I may not have that same reminder, but my grandmother remains with me in many other ways. Ways that have allowed me to see life and living and aging with an appreciation I would not otherwise have had.
The circle of life. A beautiful thing. Even and maybe most especially, in the presence of great sadness.