A petite, well-poised and proud lady who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock with makeup perfectly applied on her face and her hair combed even though she is legally blind.
My 95 years old grandmother was moving to a nursing home about three years ago. My grandfather passed away about a year before that.
After a long time of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, I saw her smile when they told her that her room was ready. As she started to walk to the elevator, they told her about her new room.
“I love it,” she said with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been given a new puppy.
I told her: “Grandma you haven’t been in the room; just wait.”
At which time, she said: “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,”. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged or what color the walls are, or what kind of drapes are hanged in front of the windows, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.
“It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed complaining about the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
When we were in her room she asked me to open her suitcase, which I did. Then she said there is a gift for you in the right pocket. I looked in there and saw something wrapped up in a gift box with a nice wrapping paper. I asked: Grandma what is it? She said: open it. It was a watch.
I told her thanks grandma. This is a good looking watch. She said: “I know”. Then, she paused for a moment and said: “I got this for your grandpa many years ago”. I said: Grandma this looks brand new, seems like he has never put it on! She said: “That’s true, he never used it, he was saving it for a special occasion.”
Then she said: “Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion.”
I still think those words changed my life. Now I read more. I sit on the porch without worrying about anything. I understand that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through.
I no longer keep anything. I wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it. I don’t save my special suit for special occasions, I use it whenever I want to.
The words “Someday” and “One Day” are fading away from my dictionary. If it’s worth seeing, listening to or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now.
I don’t know what my grand father would have done if he knew he wouldn’t be there the next morning, this nobody can tell. I think he might have called his relatives and closest friends. He might have called old friends to make peace over past arguments. I’d like to think he would go out for kabob, his favorite food. It’s these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come.
I would regret it, because I would no longer see the friends I would meet, letters letters that I wanted to write. “One of these days” I would regret and feel sad, because I didn’t say to my family how much I love them. How much I care about them.
Now, I try not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And, on each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day. Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.