Lake Tahoe, quite possibly the closest place that I think I will ever get to Heaven on Earth. From my previous entries from last summer, I think I wrote how we have a cabin here on South Shore, and this summer my parents got a summer season pass to the South Tahoe Stand Up Paddle Board rental place right on the beach at El Dorado. I was able to come up this weekend and spend it with my parents & one of my brothers. I’ve been out on the lake every day since Saturday on the paddle board and honestly I’ve never felt so lucky.
Today is the day, 5 years ago in 2009 that we lost my grandma, my mom’s mother, here in Tahoe. It seems like just yesterday I was holding her hand as she looked at me, because she was intubated, so she couldn’t speak, that’s what I recall so clearly is the way she looked at me and my brothers so helplessly. I remember sitting there and as I held her hand, so fragile & cool in mine, my mom was talking to her. I just kept biting my tongue and the insides of my cheeks to keep from crying. When suddenly, she squeezed my hand with such a force that it startled me. I knew that it was her way of letting me know that everything was going to be ok, and that even after she was gone that we would all be ok. But in my head how would anything ever be the same? She did so much for all of us, she cared so much, and she loved us so much. I don’t think I’ve ever met more of a genuine person in my life, and here we were watching her slip up to heaven.
I still remember exactly where I was, the next day when my mom called me from the hospital and told me that they were going to remove the tube and try and let her lungs breathe on their own, I was in a room with my oldest brother Joseph and I immediately left the room because I knew I was going to start crying and I didn’t want him to see me cry. When my mom told me, and I immediately told her to tell Grams that I loved her dearly and all the things that I had wished I had told her but didn’t, and my mom told me that they had already talked about me, and said that she would tell her what I said. My mom said that she finally wasn’t in pain and that she slowly faded away peacefully.
I also still remember the funeral, there was an open casket and in all honesty I was too afraid to go up and look upon my grandma, even when I saw from a distance, she was cold, and I didn’t want to see her like that. Besides that I knew I would melt into a puddle of tears and I couldn’t do that right before the mass. My mom looked at me right before the ceremony was to begin and she said, “Did you say goodbye to your grandmother?” and I lied and said I did, and to this day it still somewhat kills me inside that I didn’t go up to her, I didn’t say anything to her, nothing.
Today, on the paddle board I went out as far as I could go out to the deep blue drop off. There wasn’t anyone around me, no boats, no jet skis speeding by, it was just me and the beautiful blue water that surrounded me. I sat down on the board and just kind of took it all in. Mt. Tallac to my left, the meadow by our cabin nestled by the Tahoe Keys, Cave Rock across the way to my right. It was so quiet, so absolutely quiet. But it wasn’t a deafening type of silence, it was a peaceful, wonderful feeling that washed over me. I felt the cool, crisp water that lapped at the sides of the board and I could just feel her.
I don’t mean to be cheesy, or overly spiritual, but in that moment I just kind of let everything go, all my worries, all the things on my mind and I just for that split second wished that she could see me. At the same time, I knew she was watching, I knew she was probably peeking down wishing that she could be there with us on that beautiful day. What I’ve realized, if anything is that I take too many people in my life for granted, and I don’t want to live with the regret of wishing that I had more time with them.