So I guess it is time for an update on my trip to Friona to try to make things right with my 93 year old grandmother. I loaded up the car on October 27, 2012 to make the 7 hour drive to the middle of nowhere Texas. It had been years since I made that drive but not much had changed other than the wind turbines that clutter the caprock these days. I stayed with my uncle on Friday night. It was a great visit. He is a good guy and great host. We talked about Hannah and how things were going with her. He told me he had no idea how she would react to seeing me but was glad I was there to try. I finally went to bed early Saturday morning knowing that in a few hours I would be heading to the hospital. I woke up after a few hours of restless sleep and got dressed and headed out. I stopped at the Sonic on the main drag to give myself more time to chicken out but I didn't. I parked in front of the hospital and just sat there. I started to cry and wondered why I was even there. What if she hated me? What if she didn't even know who I was? I pulled myself together and headed inside. The door to her room was open and she was asleep. What I saw was simply a shell of the feisty woman I grew up knowing as Nenaw. She looked old and frail. I took a deep breath and walked in her room.
"So how are you feeling today Hannah?" I said in a matter of fact tone. "Well, my back still hurts but not as nauseous today..." was her response. She thought I was one of her doctors. "Do you even know who I am Hannah?" This question made her do a double take and then the moment of truth. "Jeff??? Is that you???" I answered with a simple "Yes ma'am." She looked shocked and outstretched her arms and started crying and told me to come to her. We embraced and she kept repeating "I am so sorry..." over and over. I apologized as well. It was such a relief to hear those words.
I sat with her for hours just talking about old times and catching her up on my life and family. I gave her a picture of the kids and she held it in her hands for hours. We laughed, cried, smiled, hugged and talked. I could tell she was emotionally drained and needed some rest so I told her I would let her nap and be back by before I headed home. A few hours later I hugged her for the last time and told her that I loved her. Amends had been made. I left Friona knowing I would probably never see her smile again.
On March 10th I received a text from my mom asking me to call her. Not sure why but I knew what her news would be. Hannah was gone. Her old body had finally given up and she wasn't in pain anymore. I made arrangements and drove to Friona again. On March 14th, along with her other grandsons, I carried her to her final resting place. I am thankful for that cold Saturday in late October when I got the opportunity to make things right. I am thankful for the last hug I got from my Nenaw. I smile knowing the last thing we said to each other after years of anger was "I love you." Don't wait until it's too late. Swallow your pride and say you are sorry. Family is family. Love them while you have a chance. Life is short. Keep coming back...it works if you work it.