A couple of weeks ago, the family gathered for a reunion, one that my Grandma Suzi played a role in planning, but one that she did not make it to. She passed away in June after an amazing 91 years on Earth. Naturally, part of the reunion weekend turned into a memorial for her, during which any family member was free to speak about Suzi. I chose to write something that day based on a conversation I had with Suzi the month before she died. This is what I said:
In May, after I went for a run in Fort Collins, I was sitting with Suzi in her kitchen. She asked me how far I ran. I told her. Then she said something that struck me as profound, but to her it was a simple recollection. She said, “I remember running. I loved that feeling.”
In that moment after she said that I tried to picture a time when I could no longer run. It made me sad, reflecting on the fragility of our bodies, and on the days that have already passed by, specifically the days I chose not to run.
Upon further reflection, I started to think of other blessings in my life that have an expiration date, like being able to pick up my son and hold him with one arm. Or being at home with my kids. Or being able to outsmart my kids or being able to outrun them. At some point, if I live long enough, I will speak about many of the things I love now in the past tense. So I must do them now. We must do them now while we still can.
That’s what Suzi taught me in her last weeks of life. Suzi did everything she could do until the very last moments she could do them. And she even did some things well past the point that she could actually do them…like driving.
Stubborn to the very end, but Suzi just wanted to live life. She spoke about running in the past tense, but more often than not when speaking about the things she loved she spoke in the present tense. May we all be that lucky, that wise, and this loved.