A Valentine’s Visit to Remember

One year ago, I sat in meditation on my front step as I’d done nearly every morning for over 10 years. Except that morning my meditation was different. I had a visitor.

My grandfather arrived on the cold February air. “Go see your grandmother,” he said. “Take her some flowers.” Grandpa died when I was 17.

“Of course, Grandpa,” I replied. And the breeze carried him away. Then I realized what his request entailed. “Shit. I have to drive to Red Deer.”

It was not the plan I’d had for my day, but I wasn’t about to argue with my dead grandfather. So, I drove the 90 minutes to see Nan. And I gave her flowers. We had a lovely visit. I told her about Grandpa’s request for Valentine’s Day. She enjoyed that story. She didn’t seem surprised.

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Photos by Canva (left) and by loli Clement on Unsplash (right)

Within weeks, Covid had captivated the world. The kids stayed home to attend school online and no one visited anyone. Nan fell and broke her hip. I argued over the phone with the nurse, trying to get her to allow me to visit the hospital room. No luck.

After recovery from surgery, they released Nan back home with my aunt. Still, regulations restricted visitation. I spoke with her on the phone. She sounded tired but comfortable.

The fall had taken its toll and before long she was back in the hospital and then moved to a care facility. She died July 16th. She was 91. She’d often remarked how she’d outlived everyone in her family. No one else had reached her age. Though she’d also outlived all of her friends.

When Mom and Dad called to give the news of Nan’s passing, I remembered the meditation interruption from Grandpa. How, at the time, I thought he’d come to give Nan a Valentine’s Day gift. I was just the messenger. Then it hit me. He’d given me a gift. I couldn’t have known then that a pandemic was imminent.

Before broken hip and hospital restrictions, uncertainty and isolation, while everyone was happy and healthy, Grandpa gave me the gift of a wonderful visit with Nan.

I’m sure glad I listened to him.

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Alice Ogilvie (Nan) on the right, her sister, Helen, on the left

Author of 13 books including An Accidental Awakening:It’s not about yoga;It’s about family. Writing/publishing coach. Canadian. StephanieHrehirchuk.com

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