Posted in NaBloPoMo, NanoPoblano

The Decision

If you could redo one moment in your life, what would it be and why? How would it change who you are now?1968-07-lee-with-grandpa-walker

I have to start out by saying that no matter what, I wouldn’t change anything about my life, because if I did, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be where I am now.  I believe that every decision and every action thus far in my life was a vital step to bring me to this exact spot. Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got regrets. I’ve got a lot of regrets, but I think those are important because they have shaped the woman I am today. However, for the sake of this prompt, I will describe a moment that I do wonder about sometimes.

As a child, my grandfather was the most important person in my life. I loved my parents and I loved my other three grandparents, but the bond with my Grandpa Walker was stronger than any other.  The scene played out one Saturday morning. As usual, I had spent the night with my grandparents and sometime mid-morning, I walked back home to my parents’ house.  Minutes after arriving, the phone rang.  It was my grandmother calling for help. Something was wrong with my grandfather. “Come quick!” she yelled.  

My mom grabbed my sister and me and we jumped in the car for the quarter mile ride back to my grandparents’ house.  My grandfather was on the couch just as he had been when I left less than 30 minutes earlier. It was clear he was in great distress.  My grandmother was panicking and my mother yelled for me to go get help.  

Now, I was 10 years old.  My dad and uncle were working and the next nearest neighbor was a half mile away. It was quicker for me to go for help than to call for help as my family lived over 10 miles from the nearest doctor or ambulance service.

I remember thinking that it would be faster if I just got in the car and drove for help. I know what you are thinking. I’m was TEN. But, growing up in the country had its advantages. I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t driving. Before my feet could reach the peddles, my grandfather would put me in his lap and I would steer us everywhere we went. As a 10 year old, I was sort of tall, so I had finally reached the point where my tippy toes could reach and I could really drive a car with an automatic transmission. Although I had done it a few times in the fields and yards, I was never allowed to do it without an adult with me.

1971-lee-and-grandpa-walkerSo, here I am on this morning as my 10 year old self stood in the road with the the biggest decision I had made to date bearing down on me. I looked at the car, keys in the ignition and pointing in the direction I needed to go. I looked down the road to the neighbor’s house knowing that even for a relatively active child, the half mile was going to be hard. The side of me that feared getting in trouble won, and my feet began to pound the pavement as fast as my little legs would carry me. I made the first quarter mile without slowing down, but I finally had to stop for a breath. After a few seconds I took off again. I remember the stabbing pains in my side and the feeling my lungs were on fire.

I made it to the neighbor’s and luckily he was home.  I crashed into his back door and shouted through exhaustion, “something is wrong with grandpa,” and without missing a beat, he grabbed his keys and we headed back. I remember the scene so vividly as we stormed through the back door of my grandparents’ home. My mom was stooped over my grandfather giving him CPR as best she could, but the look on her face said it all.  He was gone. The neighbor stepped in and confirmed what my mom already knew.

I can remember not being able to catch my breath. I remember the sobs and most of all, I remember the guilt. Did I make the wrong choice when standing in the middle of that road? If I had taken the car, would we have been able to get back in time to save him? Was being afraid of getting in trouble the thing that killed my grandpa?

Over the next few days I remember hearing the hushed voices of my mother and grandmother telling friends and family how he had died before my mom and I ever got there, of how my grandmother heard him take his last breath before she was even able to call us for help. I heard the doctor say there was nothing anyone could have done and even if he had been closer to medical help, it would not have saved him. But none of those things made me feel better. I was so sure that my wrong choice was the reason he died. And honestly, here I am almost 40 years later and I still think about that day when he comes to mind; I still wonder if the outcome would have been different. My adult brain knows the truth,but sometimes it’s hard to shake the thoughts of that little girl who, in an instant, lost her rock and her best friend.

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, Post A Day Challenge

A Desirable Point

(30 Days of Truth – Day 5 – Something in life that gives you balance)

There were a few things that came to mind today when I started thinking about what gives me balance. My first thought was God, but that’s was too easy so I kept thinking. I thought of how my time at work balances out the chaos (chaos = good) in the rest of my life, but couldn’t quite find the words to make that work. Then I thought about God again and thought I should be challenging myself, digging deep for these posts. “I’m not writing about God,” I told myself.

I thought about how I love art and crafty things and how it makes me be creative and step outside of my everyday thought processes. But again, the words were just not coming to me. I thought about it some more and again it was God that popped into my head. “Nope, not gonna’ take the easy road.”

My cats. They are important to me. My cats calm me after a crazy work day and love me unconditionally, even when I’m at my worst. Nah, I really don’t want to write about them yet. I’m going to save this tale for another day. I was completely stumped. I had no idea what on earth to write about?

DOH! Yeah, it was that obvious to me, too. I have no idea why I resisted. I think I just wanted this to be harder than it needed to be. I resolved myself to the fact that this topic, this story, was going to be the easiest yet. The one consistent force in my life has always been my faith in God. God has always been my stabilizer. He has been beside me at my best and at my worst.  My faith has carried me through when I had nothing else. God has been with me in some pretty incredible moments, too.

God shared something with me once and it has made me feel pretty darn special ever since. It was a moment that defined the rest of my life. Not only was it the darkest and saddest moment of my life, but it was also the time I witnessed perfect peace. My family had gathered around my father’s hospital bed after a two day vigil. We had watched the life leave his eyes during those two days as he drifted further and further away from us. We joined together around him when we knew he was about to take his last breath, and in that moment, God allowed us to view heaven through my daddy’s eyes. It was a split second that I will never forget. My father awoke from his comatose state, sat up in his bed, arms reaching for someone we couldn’t see, smiled the biggest toothless smile I’ve ever seen, and took his last breath. My father saw what is waiting for us on the other side, and we were able to see it too. I was completely unable to cry again for some time after that because I was so completely blissful. My belief that something beautiful is waiting for me was sealed in stone that day.

Wikipedia defines the metaphysical form of balance as a desirable point between two opposing forces. On the day my father died, God picked me up from my grief and sorrow and put me right smack dab in the middle of contentment. Just as with many other times, God knew the exact spot I needed to be and placed me there, away and protected from any turmoil that may come to find me. My faith in God has been and always will be that desirable point for me.