I found out on Tuesday that my grandma had cancer. Five days later, she died.
I was visiting my parents in Illinois over the weekend. On Saturday morning, I rode to a restaurant with my dad, where we planned to meet up with my mom for brunch. When my mom walked into the restaurant, there were tears in her eyes.
She didn’t have to say anything.
“Grandma’s gone,” I said.
My mom nodded.
We hugged for a long time.
We thought we were going to lose her to an infection in July. My mom and I flew down to Florida to be with her. We cut her hair, painted her nails and threw a tea party — because there were three generations of Sarah’s in the same room and if that’s not worth celebrating, then….
I knew when I kissed my grandma good-bye that July afternoon, as she lay sleeping, that it was likely the last time I would see her alive.
And it was.
On Saturday afternoon, after we finished brunch, we came home and I sat with my mom in the living room and we looked at old family photos and the genealogy my grandma had meticulously researched.
On one of the pages, it listed my mom’s full name and birthday, my dad’s name and the date they were married. Then it listed my siblings and I, the date we were born and the hospital we were born at.
And then there was the word “Death:” after each of our names, and a blank space.
My grandma was a good woman who lived a good, long life. She loved her husband, her children, her grandchildren and great-grand children. And we loved her, too.
This morning, as I watch the sun come up, I remember my grandma.
And I remember that at some point, someone will inevitably write down the day of my death.
It reminds me to make today — and all the days of my life — count for something.
Count for compassion.
Count for grace.
Count for good.
Count for love.