In this photo from left to right, my nephew Noah, his daughter, Nevada, my brother-in-law, Don, and his great-granddaughter Addie.
Nevada was also Don’s granddaughter and became his sidekick. Where Grandpa went, Nevada was right there with him. His trips to Menards and Home Depot, Nevada went with. His weekly lunch with his lifelong friend, Nevada was there. His late afternoon stop at the Elks Club for his 2 glasses of diet Coke, Nevada was by his side.
My brother-in-law had a stroke about 10 years ago. It altered his personality. He was less affectionate with those who loved him, but Nevada was the exception. She was his buddy and loved him unconditionally. If my sister yelled at him Nevada would get up on Grandpa’s lap and say in a very stern voice, “Don’t you yell at my Grandpa.” She was the one person he didn’t lose patience with, get annoyed by, or angry with.
We lost Don in June of last summer. Completely unexpected. While everyone else has learned to live without his presence, Nevada who just turned five still mourns him daily. She continues to ask us, “Why did Grandpa leave?” She’s slowly starting to understand but it’s been a tough winter for her.
With each loss in my life I’m reminded. We are only here for a short while. My sister sent me a lovely opinion piece that talks about anger. What a wasteful emotion it is. That it is. The news cycle is filled daily with opinions and outrage. It can be so easy to get caught up in it.
Covid19 has brought a level of stress to our lives that most of us have never experienced. Fear of a disease. A silent, possible deadly virus. The news is filled daily with rising positives and deaths due to this virus. Your heart aches to read about victims who died alone without the comfort of their loved ones.
I’m in the high-risk category, a cancer survivor. The restrictions can at times seem overwhelming. As much as I used to hate grocery shopping, now I would actually enjoy it. Funny how those things we saw as chores have now become desirable. The ability to interact with other people, seeing what we are actually buying, not dependent on what someone else thinks is a suitable substitution.
All those simple things in life have changed and will stay changed for the foreseeable future. But I look for the positives. I’m blessed to live in an area that social distancing really isn’t an issue. Also stay at home isn’t hard to do. I’m surrounded by nature and have neighbors nearby that have become friends.
So every day is a blessing. As my dad used to say when I would ask him how he was doing, his response was always, “Great. I woke up today so it’s a great day.” I would always laugh but I’ve come to realize that he was right. Every day that you open your eyes to a new day, it is a great day. Cherish them and those you love. Let go of anger and remind yourself of what you have to be thankful for.