How I treasure the generation that isn’t fully connected at family gatherings. You know who I’m talking about. Grandma who no longer tracks the activity around her. She sits on the fringe of the holiday chaos, looking around, smiling, not able to distinguish a single word that is said amidst the clatter of dishes, football game on the TV, and the myriad of side stories.

She can start talking right in the middle of someone else’s story because there was no way she knew the punchline was about to be delivered from the comedian cousin.

She’s the one who delays dessert with each passing year as she slowly picks through her small plate of food, long after everyone was finished their meal.

The one we all watch moving around as we hold our breath, hoping this will be another successful event without a fall.

And the one woman who might tap any of us to summon our inner grit if she happens to have a “bathroom emergency.” Everyone present acknowledging that this frail woman changed diapers for each person in the room.

That wonderful grandparent who engraved lessons in our souls before we could even comprehend what she was doing. A massive part of how we learned to love and trust and care for others.

Each of us stands on the threshold of a door that is closing. Will this be the last gathering with Grandma present? Maybe so. The reality is that death eradicates do-overs.

Because the next gathering may bring an empty chair, we should all take time to craft what could be our final memory: linger a little longer, connect more abundantly, and hug more wholly.

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