Second Chances, Kinda
I got bad news yesterday. My great-aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She doesn't have a lot of time left.
My mom called to give me the news, and to tell me that she was traveling to Buffalo the next morning, along with my grandmother, so they could spend time with my great-aunt. I asked her if I should drive up and she thought it would be a good idea if possible. I thought about it quite a bit. The drive is long, especially for just a few days. I would have to take a day off work, and I wasn't sure how much time I would really get to spend with my great-aunt.
My grandfather passed away about six months ago. By the time I found out, it was too late for me to even speak to him. At that time, I offered to go down to Alabama to be with my family, but my mom told me to hold off until the funeral. I didn't get to say goodbye to my grandfather, and I hadn't seen him or even spoken to him much for a year before he passed away. It's something I really regret.
So I saw this as a (somewhat) second chance. Yes, the drive will be hard. But I will get to spend time with my great-aunt before it's too late. So I'm leaving soon.
My great-aunt is a wonderful person. She's truly one of my role models. She has been a teacher throughout her career, working with difficult student populations. And she really cares and reaches out to her students, even if she can't speak their language. I recall lots of stories from her about how she made a connection with a student that other people couldn't get through to. How she transcended cultural differences to truly help and care for a new immigrant or someone scared and having a hard time. She never had a child of her own, but she was certainly mother to many. I strive to follow her example.