In a Moment

Friday, March 25, 2011

Have ever looked across a table into the eyes of another and realized the question they asked is painful? Do you defuse the situation with a flippant comment? Do you blow it off with a sigh or do you look away as if that question had not been asked?

Yesterday I had this opportunity not once, but twice. In an instant I had to stare into hurt eyes and respond. I am not equipped to deal with others pain. My coping mechanism is laughter but laughter is not always the best medicine.

”Why has god left me here?” my grandmother asked. As we sat in an old favorite restaurant of hers, it occurred to her she had out lived her friends. She would not be running into old friends. The pain was real, as was the question.

In unison my mother and I defused the situation with, “Because God still has work for you.” Which we could see totally confused her but it did dull the pain. The wick clipper was, “How about some hot fudge cake?” Chocolate is the answer to any question she asks.

As an article I read this morning reports, yes our standard of living is declining. However, I think it does not have to do with money as much as with time.

Our time once passed, does not return. That moment you passed up on to be with _ (you fill in the blank), will never come again. That instant you choose to be sedate is a moment of movement you have lost; an instant of nothing more than a sigh.

Those painful eyes you may avoid, this is true. But you will also miss the climax of an accumulation of moments.

”Can it not be fixed?” The pain again came out through my grandmothers eyes. Her television had went out, another thing in her mind I’m sure she felt she had out lived.

”Do not worry; we are going now to get you another one. I promise you will like the new ones better, I promise.” My sigh for the moment, vocalized in my promise.

”Well that is big and honey call the handy man to help you.” The fear now replaced with awe as the new flat screen was pulled out of the box. Hooked up, wired up and programmed I flipped the new television on.

And what was my accumulation of moments?

”Oh, that is bigger than the old one and look how fat Oprah has gotten.”

The old adage is true, “No pain, no gain.” I laughed all the way home. I just hope Oprah isn’t reading this.

May your weekend be filled with moments.



welcome to my world of poetry said, 

Wonderful Jules,how true sometimes it's best not to see the question in the eyes. I recall a few weeks before my husband passed away we went with friends to a place he wanted to visit, we were alking in single file, I happened to look back in my husband's direction and he has such a wistful look in his eyes, though he never ever said once"Why Me?" when told he had terminal cancer, the look in his eys said it all.

Have a good week-end.

March 25, 2011 at 9:10 AM  
Kittie Howard said, 

Jules, thank you for articulating so much. Now I'm rather at a loss for words here, but I remember so well moments with my grandmother and how birds were chirping, the sun was shining and yet the moment was heavy, always lightened with warmth, but was still there for that fleeting second. How brave and strong she was.

I'm delighted the new tv made your gran happy. So nice!

March 25, 2011 at 9:18 AM  
Karen Walker said, 

I realized a while back that all we have are moments and how precious they are. I still waste way too many. My 96-year-old aunt has voiced the same thing your grandmother is saying: Why am I still here? I think you gave your grandmother as good an answer as any. Because of course, there is no answer to that. We are all here as long as we're here and we have no way of knowing when that will be.

March 25, 2011 at 9:23 AM  
Summer Ross said, 

Yup questions can sometimes be very hard to answer- I don't avoid them, I try to give the truth as I see it, even if it hurts just a little. Good answers to your grandmother.

March 25, 2011 at 9:37 AM  
Ella said, 

I think you handled it well; There questions like this daily, somewhere someone is trying to come to grips with how to best respond. I love the kindness you showed her and the detours you gave. Very touching~xXx

March 25, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
N. R. Williams said, 

I remember my grandmother doing the same thing. She was the youngest of five girls and out lived them all by twenty or more years. 104 and a half when she passed. I miss her laughter most of all.

Enjoy your weekend.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

March 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM  
Wendy Tyler Ryan said, 

Sometimes the best answer to a hard question is "I don't know". It's honest.

Lovely post.

March 25, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Gail said, 

Beautiful, true, sad.

March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM  
Velvet Over Steel said, 

Oh my... I didn't know until just last year that you can 'only' buy flat screen T.V. and I just can't buy a new one until this Hugh, Heavy.. only the handiman Or one of my sons 'smiles' can move... T.V. goes out. I was wondering if IT was going to out live ME?!

I love your grandmother btw! Wanted to HUG her via internet & then laugh with You on your way home!! :-)

Much Love & Many Hugs for you both!! ~ Coreen XOXO

March 25, 2011 at 12:48 PM  
Flame of the Forest said, 

What to say? just a sigh...I loved my paternal grandfather the most....

March 25, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
floweringmama said, 

Oh my. I love the picture you have for this particular blog. Breathtaking. My mom has started the paperwork process for gmom to be admitted to the nursing home. It sucks. It more than sucks. We can't afford a live in sitter. We can't afford assisted living. Gmom fell twice yesterday. Everyone is working and can't afford to retire or quit work to stay home with her. It's no wonder your gmom feels the way she does.

Prayers for you and yours

March 25, 2011 at 1:13 PM  
Kim said, 

Hello! found you through "Tossing it out". And this post touched my heart. My grandfather said something very similar to us some years ago (he passed away in March '99, just shy of age 95). He had one friend with whom he spoke every day on the phone, even though they lived just blocks apart. But "all my other friends have gone on ahead of us" he would say. However, after he met my niece (and became the first person in his family to be a great grandparent) and the man who would become my husband, he peacefully went on to join those who had gone ahead of him.
Sometimes the hardest questions produce the deepest conversations.
Thanks for sharing

March 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM  
Blasphemous Aesthete said, 

True, sometimes, it is just not easy to tackle the situation with light humour, and many times it may even jeopardize the situation.
Only if the answer to everybody's grave questions could be a chocolate.

Nice read,

Blasphemous Aesthete

March 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM  
Mary Vaughn said, 

Sometimes there is nothing to say.
At 97 my dad and I were having coffee and suddenly he says, "Your mom had 43 cars in her funeral. They're all dead now. It'll just be me and you, kid."
There were a few more than just me but I think of that each time someone I know dies or I see a funeral.

March 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM  
KarenG said, 

I love that Oprah comment at the end LOL. Have you noticed that the large flat screened TV's make everyone look fatter? Esp. through the hips and thighs. So glad I'm not on television.

My mom was 93 when she died and I was surprised that there weren't more people at her funeral but then I guess she had outlived so many of her friends and family. She held on to life tenaciously, I don't think I ever heard her express the sentiment that she was done. She loved life. She loved people. It was such a shock when the strokes hit her so hard, and she held on for 3 months afterward wanting to live and get back to her apartment. She didn't fear death, but she loved life.

March 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM  
The Golden Eagle said, 

Beautiful post.

I laughed at your grandmother's comment about Oprah. :)

March 25, 2011 at 3:50 PM  
Clarissa Draper said, 

I always believe we should make the best use of our time as possible. However, sometimes we need rest time. That's a perfect use of our time, resting and meditation. I'm sorry your grandmother is sad.

March 25, 2011 at 4:25 PM  
li said, 

I've asked those sorts of questions of others once or twice in my life. And I wasn't looking for a concrete answer as such; I was merely letting someone know that I hurt, and hoping for solace in return. Sometimes it isn't what you say in answer so much as what you do; the reply can be in the form of a held hand, a shoulder to cry on, a homecooked meal...or a new TV. xx

March 25, 2011 at 8:15 PM  
Olivia J. Herrell said, 

Jules, great message. What a gift that you can be in your grandmother's life. Savor your moments.

~ that rebel, Olivia

March 25, 2011 at 8:20 PM  
Queen-Size funny bone said, 

Who would think pain would come from living too long? I worked with the elderly for over 23 years and they all said the same thing. That when all that is familiar is gone so should they be.

March 25, 2011 at 10:21 PM  
Corine said, 

Oh Jules... I'm so sorry. I'm not good at hiding my feelings. If I don't know what to say, I will most likely give a hug.
Hugs... ;)
Corine :D

March 25, 2011 at 10:30 PM  
Nicole MacDonald said, 

My nana is close to 90 now. She's not walking great and finally is having her 'eyes done' so hopefully she can read again. She wants to read my book and I hope she gets too, there's a character in there that is fully her. I hope when I get to her age I'm as determined to live life as she is. She often mentions how it'll probably be 'her time soon' and then she pauses and says, 'but I hope not too soon, I still have things I want to do' :)

The Arrival, Book 1 of the BirthRight Trilogy available now

March 26, 2011 at 12:29 AM  
Rachael Harrie said, 

It's so hard when you can see someone else's pain, isn't it. I guess I try to answer the question best I can, though have had to admit more than once that I just didn't know the answer. And, like Corine said, there's always hugs.



March 26, 2011 at 12:48 AM  
Paula said, 

Good that Oprah had put on weight.

March 26, 2011 at 1:18 PM  
Tiger85 said, 

Very touching post. I can relate to these momments as I think everyone can. Thanks for sharing. =)

March 26, 2011 at 2:14 PM  
Tiger85 said, 

Very touching post. I can relate to these momments as I think everyone can. Thanks for sharing. =)

March 26, 2011 at 2:14 PM  
Tammy said, 

I find that chocolate is the best answer to most questions. Add a new flat screen TV and loved ones, and there will be good moments. Thanks for the sweet post. All the best to your grandma.

March 26, 2011 at 10:14 PM  
Jayne said, 

I think just being there is the best response to the sad-eyed question. Being there and listening. For there's no perfect answer. I'm sure your grandmother is very happy to have you're ear, no matter how you verbally respond. Makes her "still being here" much brighter. :)

March 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM  
Ruth Teal said, 

I like your blog! I'm following you and I'm also in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. RuthieTootieWishes

March 27, 2011 at 4:33 AM  
Ruth Teal said, 

I like your blog! I'm following you and I'm also in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. RuthieTootieWishes

March 27, 2011 at 4:33 AM  
Amie Kaufman said, 

I think a meaningful reply and chocolate fudge are probably the best response to most difficulties. It sounds like you handled this moment gracefully, even if it was difficult. And I suspect Oprah would giggle if she did come across your blog.

March 27, 2011 at 6:27 AM  
Vicki Rocho said, 

I'd tell Grandma, "It's because I'd miss you too much if He took you."

March 27, 2011 at 8:08 AM  
Theresa Milstein said, 

I find we as a society don't properly answer those kinds of questions to the people who need answers most. Those who are aging, dying, grieving receive pat answers.

When I lost my grandmother, I had several people tell me she was playing bingo up in heaven with her best friend. It reduced who she was.

But really, what can we say?

March 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM  
Pk Hrezo said, 

Aw, thanks for sharing this. You're right. ANd those intense moments are really hard, often quieted by lighthearted laughter.
And your grandmother is so lucky to still have family who cares and loves her.

March 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM  
Jilda said, 

It is very hard for most of us to realize that not everything can be fixed, and that we are not meant to fix everything. Rick's grandmother outlived her children, her husband and her friends. Who knows why...sometimes, all we can say is I don't know, but I care.
I love your posts, what a way with words you have.

March 27, 2011 at 8:12 PM  
Tracy said, 

Jules, wow girl; missed opportunities becuase we've wasted a moment. How sad it must be for your grandmother. I think of my mom outliving her friends which is certainly a way of life as we age.
You gave me a great deal to think about without even realizing it...thank you!

March 27, 2011 at 8:27 PM  
Cruella Collett said, 

I think this is what scares me about old age, and about the fact that my parents will get there eventually and I will not be able to do anything about it. My grandmother is currently in a position where all her news about friends comes from the obituaries, while my grandfather is blissfully (but terribly) slipping into oblivion as dementia is stealing him gradually.

At the same time - if they are able to see it as you and your mother put it - God or whatever entity you believe in still has plans for you, and the life you've led has been long and rich; then I think old age can be wonderful. I wish and hope your grandmother (and mine) remembers this most days from now on :)

March 28, 2011 at 3:26 AM  
B's Mom said, 

My mother-in-law has a long battle before she passed away. When my young son asked if she was going to die soon, she told him he wasn't done with her here on earth yet. I've never forgotten that.

March 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM  
RJR said, 

Many of the closest friendships we hold are with those that we have witnessed pain in their eyes leading us to answer their fear, or just be there for them. In providing the loving response to someone we strengthen the bond of friendship. Of course sometimes humour is the right response.

I have heard said, "Without tears in the eyes there are never rainbows in the soul" which thinking about it, fits your blog title quite well !


March 31, 2011 at 2:36 AM  
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