It seems I’m not as good as I think I am. I approached the open door and could see grandma was sleeping again. I crept as quietly as I could into her hospital room. The machines inside beeped and buzzed. I moved each of my feet slowly and carefully, one in front of the other, as so not to make a sound. As I got close I could see Grandmother’s eyes were closed and she was breathing slowly.
“She’s dreaming” I thought to myself.
I turned around and ever so quietly began to sit in the chair next to her bed. “I’ll just watch her sleep” I thought to myself. Once I was settled I felt proud of myself for not waking her. A moment later I looked up and unexpectedly saw grandmother’s bright, beautiful, blue eyes staring up at me. She smiled that wonderful smile that I love to see.
“It’s me Grandma, It’s Glen” I said.
“Of course it is,” she replied as if to tell me, “who else would it be?”
I reached out and held her trembling hand. As I felt the warmth of her skin, her hand stopped shaking. She held onto my hand firmly.
“I was just going to watch you sleep” I said.
“I’d rather talk to you” she said quietly.
“What do you want to talk about Grandma?”
I pulled my chair closer to her bed so I could better hear her soft voice.
“I want to talk about you,” she said as she leaned her head closer to mine. I lift a few soft white hairs away from her eyes.
“What is it Grandma?”
“When I was a little girl I was always teased by my friends for being the last one anywhere” She said, “and when I was with your grandfather he would always tell me to hurry up. It seems that I’m always the last one anywhere.”
I smiled as I recalled many a dinner at my grandparent’s house. Dinners were always a little late and they would often go well into the night, but each of them was filled with laughter and joyous conversation. Grandma Wiese was indeed the last one to always finish her dinner. Grandpa Wiese had died many years ago, but I can still remember after each supper he would always lovingly joke how Grandma spent too much time talking and not enough time eating.
“I guess I’ve always been a little behind,” she admitted, “Even now, my friends always have to wait for me to catch up.”
“So why are you so slow grandma?” I asked.
“oh I’m not slow” she said smiling.
“She is slow,” I thought to myself, “She always has been.”
“I’m not slow…” She said as if she could hear my inner thoughts, “I just take my time. Too many people go through life looking straight ahead. They never take the time to look around.”
I nodded and I leaned closer to her.
“Too much of the world is going forward” she said, “There are so many wonderful things around you. But Glen you need to look side to side and up and down. You need to look everywhere. There are miracles all around us. If you don’t look you around will never see them.”
Grandmother squeezed my hand tight.
“I want you to be happy Glen. You make everyone else happy. But now It’s your turn” she said staring into my eyes.
I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes as she looked at me.
“I don’t think I know how to be happy Grandma” I said fighting back the tears.
“You’ve come a long way Glen and I am so very proud of you. I always will be. But you don’t need to do anything more for me. Do things that make you happy. Find those things around you and see them for what they are… what you are… a miracle. No one is perfect nor are we ever complete. And that makes us special. Stop and appreciate each of them Glen just as I appreciate you.”
I could feel a tear beginning to fall down my face but by now I simply did not care.
“If I can be half as happy as you are then I’m doing well Grandma,” was all I could say.
“Just be happy Glen. That is what I want” she said.
I could see grandma was beginning to tire as her eyes worked to stay open. Her grip on my hand loosened and her breathing slowed. I waited and for the longest time I just looked at her. She seemed to again be resting comfortably.
Finally I leaned forward and I gently kissed her forehead. I rested my head against hers for I wanted to make sure that she could hear me.
“I love you Grandma,” I said with all of love that I could muster in my voice.
“I love you too baby,” she replied. She turned her head and drifted back to sleep.
I slowly crept out of her room, but not before looking back and smiling at the miracle that is my Grandma Wiese. I turned and slowly closed the door behind me.
As I walked out of the Intensive Care Unit I found myself beginning to walk just a little bit slower then when I came in. As I did I began to look around the halls inside the hospital, and as I did, I saw it. There were so many people coming and going. I saw the sick and the caregivers. I saw the very young and the very old. Over the years I have been in these same halls of this hospital many, many times. But this time, for the first time, I saw things very differently. Each person, whether giving or receiving, laughing or crying, each of them really is a miracle in and of themselves. Each of them is on a unique path. Each of them special in their own way. This is exactly how my grandmother sees them. Unlike the rest of us, she takes each moment to look at them, to love them, and to appreciate them.
“She not slow” I said out loud to no one in particular but myself, “She’s busy just living.”
As I walked out through main doors of Providence Hospital, I thought to myself that maybe tonight at dinner I might just laugh a little more, I might just listen a little bit more intently, and if I’m lucky I might just be the last one to finish eating.