When P and I started dating in August of 2008, we took things slow. We didn't meet each other's families at first and instead took the time to really get to know each other outside of the college setting in which we first met. If you remember, P never took girlfriends home to meet his parents before me. Ever. And, I'd only introduced a select few boyfriends to mine. It never crossed my mind that my Granny wouldn't meet my future husband.
At the end of October, my mom called me and told me I needed to come home to say goodbye to my Granny. She'd been ill for years but always fought back. Fought back through breast cancer, diabetes, congestive heart failure, a triple bypass, regular dialysis treatments, and even moments of dementia. She was a strong lady. So, it just never really occurred to me that she might not be around to meet my husband and dance at my wedding. So when my mom called, I came straight back to Tennessee and to my Granny. As she laid in a bed at the hospice care center, I knew I needed to tell her that I'd be ok. Every time she'd been sick before, she told me she was staying alive to watch her granddaughters get married. She wanted to know that each of us was taken care of the way Grampa had taken care of her. They were married for 55 years when she passed away.
So, I sat there with her and told her about P. I told her that he was a kind, warm, thoughtful man who really loved me. I promised her that he would take care of me and always watch over me, so she didn't need to worry about me. I also told her not to worry about the rest of the grand kids because I knew we'd all find love and that she could always watch our weddings from the best seats Heaven has to offer.
I also told my Granny that I loved P. At this point, I hadn't actually told him yet. And, even though I had no idea where our future was leading, I knew in that moment that I was not telling even the smallest of white lies to my Granny. P would take care of me, and I'd take care of him.
During the next few days, I spent all my time with family. P asked if I wanted him to come, and even though I wanted him by my side, I didn't him to meet my family in those circumstances. He fully respected that and always offered a soft place to land when I came home exhausted from the day. That week, I told P that I loved him - 5 days after I'd told my Granny.
Fast forward 3 years, and the world looks really different. P and I are married, my cousin Hannah is married, and another cousin, Ashley, is tying the knot on our 1 year anniversary. The other 2 girls are in long-term relationships, and the boys, well, they're not quiet ready. We've found people to watch over us and love us. And, I know Granny has been watching our lives unfold from her vantage point in the clouds.
This past week, our family made the tough decision to move my Grampa into an assisted living home. It's really the best option for him so he can socialize, get help quickly when he needs it, and be taken care of in a way that family just can't. They cook him meals, have happy hour, and even allowed his dog to move in with him. So now the family is trying to go through his condo so we can take him all the things he needs from home. We're also sorting through the 80 years of life he's led, which is quite a daunting task! Let's just say that he and Granny saved everything.
While cleaning off the end table by his recliner, we found a little voice recorder you can use to remind yourself of an errand or a grocery list. We hit play and my Granny's voice filled the room. It was a message to herself to ask her doctor something during the next dialysis appointment. He'd kept it for all this time, we assume just to hear her voice. Her voice is also still on the answering machine greeting. Just little reminders of the woman he's loved his whole life. The woman he snuck off to Georgia to marry. The woman who he would be celebrating 58 years of marriage with today. Such amazing, powerful love.
It's amazing to think about such love in our time. In a time when so many marriages don't make it. In a time where we have become so selfish that the thought of considering another person equal to or more important than ourselves is unthinkable. Yet, there it is. Right in front of us.
So, P never got to meet my Granny. But this weekend, he got to hear her voice. He gets to visit with my Grampa, and he gets to know through Grampa's stories about how they played a huge part in raising me. Sharing this time I have left with my Grampa with P lets him see a side of me he's never seen before. A vulnerable little girl who just wants to land in the arms of someone who loves her.
Here's hoping and wishing and praying for 55+ years with P. Here's hoping we never forget the power of each other's voices, even when separated by death.