Whenever there is a conversation among friends family, co-workers, fellow socialites at a party or get together, the conversation seemingly begins at the resume, doesn’t it? “Hi, my name is Jason where do you work?” “Where did you go to school?” and on and on it goes. Admittedly, I WAS very proud of mine, who wouldn’t be? Regional Manager, President of a Healthcare Company division, Owner of now 3 businesses, degrees from SUNY Genessee, Bowling Green State University, University of South Florida, Clemson University, and 18 months from completing a law degree. Man, I killed them at parties. I sat back this weekend and knew it was meaningless.
THE GREATEST WOMAN I HAVE EVER KNOWN
My grandmother is the greatest woman I have ever known. Born to Italian immigrants, she was ahead of her time. Independent, intelligent, driven, tough, tenacious, and family oriented are just a few words I would use to describe her. She and my grandfather are the cornerstones of my value system and I let them down. My grandfather died when I was 12 years old and I saw this towering man, my hero, my idol fall to a slow, painful death of cancer. He went into the hospital for neck pain and we would have never believed the rest would happen. My Nana (as I refer to her) didn’t slow down. Yes, she grieved. Being married to the same man for almost 40 years would make anyone grieve. The fact is, she became even closer and filled that void to me and my siblings. Christmas, Thanksgiving, vacations, she was always there. She once claimed my Big Bad Voodoo Daddy CD’s because she loved their music as she danced while driving in her car. She has always been in my corner and never let me down. Unfortunately, I may have let her down.
As I stated above, I spent years cultivating a great career. I worked hard for it and achieved at every level. My Nana has spent the last five years in an Assisted Living Facility. As her dementia regressed, she noticed me less and less. I cannot wear glasses like the ones in the picture because she doesn’t recognize me. I speak to her pretty often. The moment I left NY state and moved away, I spoke to her two or three times per week. Recently, she had a series of falls and the most recent one she fractured her pelvis. While receiving treatment for it, she had a stroke at the hospital. These are my worst fears come true and I spent the rest of the weekend asking myself why? Why was my career so important? Why didn’t I take more vacations? I would give all my achievements away to have another Christmas with her or have one more dinner with her where I would pick her up at work and bring her home to taco night ( she loved some tacos).
Life is about lessons and this weekend I came to the realization that I let that beautiful woman down. I AM NOT proud of what I have become and need to be better. My sister and I started a new tradition of every Christmas together. We started it last year and again, my Nana stole the show playing Cards Against Humanity and dominating the game. I’m going to be a better person for my family and be the man my Nana knows me to be. My advice, DON’T BE LIKE ME!!!!! Don’t let everything else get in the way of family. I implore anyone reading this to make 1 extra call per week, 1 extra visit per week or month, 1 extra vacation day per year to their family, the people who loves them the most.