Today was packing day. Meaning packers came and packed our place for us. Which also means that I got to go for coffee with Heather, lunch with my dad, Phil, Lisa and Petr and wander down to the beach for an afternoon stroll on this amazingly beautiful day. Tough day!
No goodbyes today, which is good. Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to Phil’s grandma, Irene. I had lunch at her place, and as I was walking her back to her apartment, tears welled up in her eyes, which immediately led to me breaking down. At a spry 89 years old, she is with it. With everyone else, saying goodbye has been a “see you in a while.” At 89, and this is really, really hard for me to say, I don’t know if I’ll get to see her again. She is a beautiful human being, who loves her family more than anything. For me, she puts life into perspective. We all come to an age where the people around us are all that matter. The stuff is superfluous. All the vanity we face daily is pointless. Who cares whether my skin broke out today? Who cares if I’m stressed because of some stupid thing that I won’t even remember a couple of months from now? Why am I not spending more time with the people that I care about? What am I doing today that could make a positive impact on someone else’s day? Yesterday, amongst the chaos of filtering through what is coming with us to London and what is staying in Vancouver, I found the time to drive to Surrey and spend time with one of my favourite people. And I’m proud of that. And if I get to London and realize I forgot to pack my hair straightener, I’ll just have to have frizzy, crazy hair for two years, and that’s alright by me.
My grandparents are another case of “not sure when I’m going to see you next.” My grandpa is dead set against traveling, and my Grandma is a committed “maybe.” And it’s hard to say goodbye. They are just outside of Victoria, and I visited them more often than usual over the last four months. They are honestly the most unique people I know. To think of not seeing them for two years is devastating for me.
As a family, we are close. I have a small family and because my mom and aunt are close, the rest of us are close as well. I lived with my grandparent’s for four years when I was in university and I am so grateful to have that time to get to know them better (and get spoiled with Grandma’s homemade, caramel popcorn and chocolate zucchini cake). At 78 and 76 years old, they’ve got a lot of life left to live, but 2 years is a lot. I’m crying as I write this post. This is the hard part of our wild and wonderful adventure across The Pond. The part I didn’t think of when I was talking to the CEO of Phil’s company at the Christmas party. As a percentage of my grandparent’s life, two years seems like a lot. And yet, none of us know how long we have left to live. Why do I think that two years to them is more important than two years to anyone else? I want to have the perspective that each day is precious – no matter what age we are. And while I’m away, I am just going to have to do my absolute best to find a way to stay connected to those that matter to me.
At the very least, I am glad my Grandpa will remember where we are staying – just outside of “Kings Crotch.” That is what I will think every time I have to board the Tube at King’s Cross. For some reason, my Grandpa and I have the same bizarre sense of humour, and we can be in stitches just by looking at each other. I think that’s something I may need over the next stretch of time even if it’s in the form of a letter. And my Grandma might just have to leave her comfort zone and come for a visit, and maybe I need to start making some requests for how important that is to me. I don’t believe she’s ever been outside of BC. She has an absolute love for all things British and lots of our family history stems from the UK. I would love to be the one who gets to travel around visiting home towns of people we never knew, but somehow feel connected to. To be there with my Grandma to experience that would be an absolute miracle in my books.