“Meghan, go play piano for us, please.'
I reluctantly rose up from the dinner table and mosied my way into our living room. I hated playing piano when I was told, rather than on my own time, and he knew that. I suppose that was my grandmother’s stubbornness shining through her baby girl. The remains of stuffing and potatoes were scattered along the table which was littered with dirty plates. The smell of honey ham and wine still lingered in the air. It danced up to my nostrils, making them tingle with delight. I plopped down on my piano bench, and my fingers instinctively began tickling the ivories I knew so well. I played for about ten minutes before I made it to the song Green sleeves. I reached out to begin to play, but was interrupted by my Aunt Pat’s concerned voice.
“Mom. Mom?... MOM!'
Her voice was calm at first, but it grew more hysteric as she continued to call to my grandmother. I knew something was wrong. Grandma had always been there for me; since the day I was born, I was always her little girl. She was the first one to hold me in the hospital when I entered the world, even before my own mother, and she took part in raising me while my Mom and Dad were at work. She was endlessly supportive and loving toward me. Life was full of grilled cheese sandwiches and Little Bear tea parties, and car rides where I held her cold hands and she told me those who have “cold hands have a warm heart'. By this time, I had risen tentatively from my seat and proceeded to creep into the dining room. My brain was running frantically, trying to come up with reason for the shock that you could feel in the air. No longer was the air full of laughter, or the smell of wine lingering. Now, fear was present.
My Grandma was slumped over on my Dad’s shoulder. Her eyes were closed, and she looked like she was taking a nap, but she wasn’t breathing. My brain went from confused, into overdrive, and then shut down completely. My first thought when I regained consciousness from my momentary black out was, “Oh my God, she’s dead. On Christmas day, with my family here, in my dining room.' My Mom’s voice interrupted my thoughts and thrust me back into reality. “It’ll be okay, Meghan, don’t worry.' she tried to tell me. I suppose I looked like I wasn’t in the mood to listen, because she fell silent, and after a few long moments, walked away. I was like a mime; words wouldn’t come, but my expression told how I was feeling. My Aunt Pat was hysterical, frantically dialing 911, while also trying to hold back tears so she could speak. Other than her and me, everyone seemed normal: concerned... but not frantic. My Aunt announced that the paramedics were on their way, and I turned my attention back to my Grandma. I noticed how pale and delicate she looked. She was a withering flower; her last petal about to fall off. It was terrifying to think that one of the most influential people in my life could be dying right in front of me. My tears began to roll down my cheeks, and they seemed endless.
Mere moments passed, but it seemed like an eternity.
“Let’s go for a walk. I need to flag down the paramedics, and you look like you really need to get out of the house'
“Oh, uhh, sure, I guess that’d be nice', I replied.
My cousin Joe and I marched awkwardly out of the house and started down my driveway. We didn’t talk, but it was a comfortable silence. We simply kept each other company. I was glad to be out of the house, but my mind was swarmed with worry. The trudge down my driveway felt like it went on forever. When we reached the bottom of my driveway, I finally broke the silence.
“Joe... Do you think Grandma will be okay?'
He hesitated for a moment, but what he said in reply are words I will never forget.
“Meghan', he said. “No matter what happens, Grandma’ll be okay.'
The paramedics arrived about two minutes later, loaded her onto the ambulance, and we all piled in cars to spend the rest of Christmas day in the hospital by her side. Those eight words my cousin spoke to me that day really made me think. That day I learned just how quickly everything can slip away from you, but that there is always a plan. No matter what, everything happens for a reason; either way, we will all be okay. My grandmother has since passed, but she taught me to live every day like it’s my last and not have any regrets. Our time on this Earth is short, and we should enjoy every minute of it.