I sit looking out over the East Tennessee mountainside writing this as my grandparents lay in hospital beds facing the reality of the world we’re living in. Hospitals at capacity sent them to Asheville, North Carolina, blood clots and pneumonia have grown in their bodies as this unforgiving virus takes hold of them. There’s nothing I can do now except call them and wait for the uncertainty to reveal itself.
I was driving today, and I imagined myself hugging them, thinking about my life of uncertainty has led me to almost never hug them. Maybe once a year. Maybe once a year I even see them.
The realization hit me, and it filled tears in my eyes as I wished to go back in time. I wished I could have been there more, helped them in the garden, and damn do I wish I would have finished painting that white fence for them.
2020 has reminded me that family is important. They are the ones who are there no matter what. They are the ones who accept me without judgment, who would hand over anything to make sure I’m okay, and I feel like I haven’t appreciated that as much as I could have.
Instead of embracing my family I’ve flown around the world and back, chosen a life abroad, and barely phoned my grandparents since choosing this lifestyle.
That won’t happen anymore. I’ll hold myself accountable, I’ll call them, I’ll hug them when it’s safe, and I’ll remember that this life is so precious yet so uncertain.
Tell the ones you love that you love them, hug them when you can, and be there. Love is all we have at the end of the day.