I’m sitting here at Malloy Hyndai getting our car fixed and I’m struck by how much blue there is in this room. Blue vases, blue plates, and blue decor lining the sun drenched windows. Blue walls. Blue sky outside.
My phone beeps and there is a text from my Dad. Grandma was taken by ambulence to the hospital this morning and is now in the ER. After running some tests, it becomes clear that she has congestive heart failure.
An elderly woman walks by where I’m sitting, straining to see out the window, with the most concerned look on her face. She looks so worried and pained that I can’t even stand it. I find a book in my purse and use that as an excuse to start a conversation. “Excuse me, would you like a book to read while you wait?” She looks up at me and her face looks a little more relaxed. “No, thank you, my car is almost done.” I look at her kind face and think about my 93-year-old grandmother who maybe feels like she’s staring death in the eyes this morning.
“My husband is in the hospital,” she continues. I take that as permission to sit down next to her on the couch to continue the conversation.
“I’m so sorry,” I say,thinking at that moment about just how brittle and transient life is. “How long have you been married?” I ask, wanting this beautiful moment to last as long as possible.
I want to learn as much as possible from this woman and from this moment, so the next thing I say is, “I’m a writer and I’d love to know if you have any marriage advice for anyone out there.”
She smiles, maybe because I’m claiming to be a writer or maybe out of rememberence of her own marriage.
“Be patient. And forgive. You just HAVE to forgive.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Those are good words.”
I ask a lot of questions and listen to her talk about living in this area for the last 60 years, her husband’s military career and his service in the Korean War and Vietnam.
“I wish I could hear his stories,” I say.
She looked down at her hands on her lap. “He can barely speak anymore.”
I think about all the stories of this generation that are slowly slipping away. All the wisdom, all the life.
She looks back up at me and gives a faint smile. I want to do something. Pray with her. Give this woman a hug.
Instead, her name is called and she stands up, politely saying goodbye and we part ways.
I take some pictures of the blue exploding in that moment. I pray for my grandma. I hand the book I was hoping to give away to the woman sitting next to me, ironically, with blue hair. I call my dad and we pray together. I tell him I love him.
Life is short. I think that’s all I’m trying to share today. Be patient with those in your life and forgive them.