Grandma and Grandpa

When I was a little girl, my life totally revolved around my Grandma and my Grandpa and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were not about holidays for me. They were simply about the knowing that I would be going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house that day and that I would get to be with them. I also knew that I could look forward to my Grandma’s homemade bread and my Grandpa’s homemade dressing; guaranteed; like clockwork; each and every year. So, this very day at this time of the year, gets me thinking…

I remember how much I loved the smell of the homemade bread that my Grandma used to make, how that smell would fill the house and make me feel so at home and I remember thinking that she made the best homemade bread in the entire world! I also remember thinking about my Grandpa’s homemade dressing and how good that smelled as well and how each and every time my Grandpa would ever make dressing, he would ask me, “Susie, should we go check the dressing?” and we would sneak into the kitchen (or so we thought!) and he would take a small scoop of dressing out of the pan in the oven and he and I would relish every single bite and we would continue to do that all day long, right up until dinner was actually ready to be served!

So, when I think of Christmas and Thanksgiving, I think of my Grandma and my Grandpa and those memories…and I remember thinking back then how lucky I was to have them in my life and how lucky I was to know that each and every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was guaranteed homemade bread and homemade dressing and I could count on all of my family gathering there at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and everyone would be there; all safe and sound. It’s funny, because when I was little, I never even thought about the possibility that any of that would ever change. I also had not yet learned at that point in time that life actually does not have any guarantees…

However, as I grew older, I began to realize that anything can change at any moment and I remember thinking how concerned I was about my Grandpa one particular Thanksgiving, how later in the day, he had mentioned that he was not feeling well after dinner and I remember worrying about him that day and for the days that followed and ten days later on December 3rd, when we lost him, I remember thinking how my life was never going to be the same and I was right for it never was…and that first Christmas without my Grandpa felt unbearable to me as I attempted to muddle through the shock and grief of losing him. Yet, to comfort myself, I also remember thinking, “At least Grandma’s still here…”

However, as the years passed, I eventually lost my Grandma, too and with each and every loss of relatives, friends, and pets, my world became smaller and smaller and I remember thinking…if only I could go back in time to just one of those Christmas or Thanksgiving days. If only I could be with all of them just one more time; if only I could hear their voices just one more time; if only I could receive their wise counsel just one more time; if only I could hear them laugh just one more time or tell a joke just one more time; if only I could get one more hug, just one more time. I’m thinking, “If only…we were allowed to do that…”

It’s so important to treasure the current moments we have and to be thankful for all of those who are in our lives right now, for we never know when things will change. We never know when that place at the table where those we love always  sit will one day be empty and there’s absolutely no one else who will ever be able to take that place or their place.

So often times, people get caught up in petty issues and forget that there are way more important things in life besides fighting, hating, arguing, and all the other things people spend their precious time doing. We often times forget that our time here with one another is precious and it’s also never long enough…

I know people who have not spoken to certain family members or friends for years simply because of some silly argument or disagreement that they had years ago and I ask them, “What are you doing? Don’t you realize how blessed you are that they are still here; that you can still talk to them? What if they were to leave and you would then never have the opportunity to speak with them again? Would you be able to handle all of the feelings that would come from that; all because of some petty argument or disagreement many years ago that in the ultimate Grand Scheme of things, actually means nothing?” Think about it. Why? Because it can all be taken away… Any moment, anytime, any day…

So, Grandma and Grandpa and Mama and Daddy and everyone I love who is no longer here, I’m thinking of you all today and I hope you’re all together eating Grandma’s homemade bread and Grandpa’s homemade dressing… I also know Daddy is taking care of the Dogs and the other animals and that the Cats are drivin’ Mama crazy and that is as it should be!

I’m thinking today how much I miss the smell of my Grandma’s homemade bread and I’m also thinking, “Grandpa, should we go check the dressing?”

~Susan Kay Hanzlik

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