My mom makes a calendar for us every year. She puts together photos comprised of events that took place during that month the year prior. I love this, as it allows me to relish highlights and see what my sibs were up to this time last year as well. This month, Mom included a quote "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
This day has become a family treasure.
Last year on this day we celebrated the 78th birthday of my Grandpa Gray, and honestly, we all knew it would be the last one we would have with him. Around this time last year, I was compelled to take my family over the mountain one last time to get some extra time in with Grandpa--but we can actually take this story back to six or so months before then.
Grandpa is not the first grandparent I have lost, and sometimes, one of those grandparents will visit my dreams. I had a very real dream where my Gram shared a message with me in a conversation we had--you need to get ready. It felt like a gentle warning and a tender mercy as I still feel lots of guilt over not going to see her when I felt I should before we lost her unexpectedly. Admittedly, when I woke up, I had no idea to what she was referring. Until suddenly I did.
Standing in my kitchen a few days after the dream, I looked out the window and knew. Grandpa. Maybe I started to pay more attention. Or maybe the older adults had just kept how quickly Grandpa was declining a secret until they could not anymore. But all I know is that his health, already not great, seemed to decline rapidly.
So, around this time last year, I NEEDED to be in Grand Junction. So, we went. And we spent some hours at the house. And my kids were so good. And Grandpa laughed and smiled as much as he could manage. I don't know if it was good or purely selfish on my part that we went. I didn't take a single picture of that visit. All I wanted to do was sit close. I wanted to listen to his stories and watch him laugh at his great grandchildren. I needed to hug him and tell him I loved him one last time--face to face.
And I am so glad that I did.