Sunday morning my Mom called to let me know that my Busha (which is Polish for Grandma, in case you’re not hip to the lingo) had fallen ill. I paced the floors for a little bit, my husband stopping into the kitchen to hug me by the shoulders before asking what my game plan would be. Game plan? Who has a game plan? Not me. He laughed. Apparently our time together has done two things:
1. He is more laid back
2. I make lists
I decided to pack a bag and head to Tennessee. I didn’t want to take the chance of not going. Family is family, period. The drive to East TN from Atlanta is a beautiful one (once you’re off I75 that is). At some points in the trek, I was the only car on a two lane highway for miles upon miles. Also, let me tell you this- if you think you might need to stop and get gas, but you’re certain you can make it another 40 miles, just STOP AND GET THE GAS NOW. I didn’t run out, but I did panic when GPS told me it was 40 miles to the next gas station and my light came on. Eep. Thankfully, I chanced upon a mountain side stop that sold gas (and SunDrop). Whew.
As I drove, I kept thinking about all those things you think of when someone you love is ill. The stories, the laughing, the crying, the what ifs and the what nots. I won’t lie, I was a nervous wreck. The first thing I said to my aunt as I got out of my car was, “Did you get her rosary?” Actually, it was all I could think about on the drive up there. I know my Busha is a devout Catholic and while I am by no means a constant at my parish (hell, I teeter on the cringe worthy “Creaster”) I know how important her faith is to her. When I was seventeen, I went to Italy and I made a pit stop at the Vatican, specifically to purchase rosaries for my Busha and her sisters. They were made of crushed rose petals and blessed by the Pope. Or, as my Mom often likes to interject, “Not just any Pope, they were blessed by the Polish Pope.” We were able to find the rosary in my Busha’s purse and I noted a smile on her face when I was finally able to see her and let her know I had brought it.
This was one of those 48 hour, sleep five hours, eat gas station food and cry a lot road trips. My aunt slept very little in a longer amount of time than I, my Uncle drove from Charleston to Atlanta and then he and my Mom drove from Atlanta to Tennessee. We were all tired, to be honest. The trip was tough. I’m a very emotional and sensitive person by nature. Factor in it’s family related and I crumble. However, I will say that I didn’t crumble in front of family- which is probably when you’re suppose to do all of that.
The thing with family, is that you don’t get to pick them. This can be a blessing or a curse. You have to learn to adapt to each personality, each quirk, each mean spirited, light hearted moment. It’s called life. The older I get, the easier some of these lessons are to learn. Sometimes I’m able to do this with class and grace, other times I get ugly. This very thing happened to me on Sunday- until a break in my tears, I realized that you know what? This person’s journey is not my journey. We each have to take in situations our own way. Once I was able to realize that and come to terms with it, the dark cloud hanging over my head sort of lifted. To me, family is family, no matter what. That’s how it is, period.
I am happy to report that my Busha is on the up and up though. I’m grateful for that and looking forward to another trip to TN again this weekend to visit with her and this time, bring MD with me. Maybe a little great-grandson time will be good for her spirit.
The drive home was a beautiful one and I was thankful for that as well. I thought quite a bit about life- nothing too hard core. Maybe just the simple facts that the older I get, the older my grandparents become, the older my parents also become. If you think on it too much, it can be quite sobering. I’m glad I was never able to pick my family- their quirks, ticks, loves and hates- those are the things that are important. Those quirks make up the fabric of our very beings and our very existences. Without them, the world would be a pretty bland place to dwell.
In between that thought, I stopped off on the side of the road and took in the day. I sat on the hillside for a bit eating a snack- not thinking, not doing, just looking and drinking in the layout of the land.
Only before I got back in the car did I turn to take this picture.