Early, on a bright summer day, I readied the children for church. Listening for sounds from downstairs I expected Grandma and Grandpa to come up, ready to join us. Grandpa emerged from the stairs, head down and serious.
"Grandma isn't feeling well. Why don't you go ahead."
I felt a dread rise up within me but scurried to get us all there by 9:00 am.
On the way home, as we turned onto our tree-lined street, I noticed their car was gone. A note was left on the kitchen counter.
"Grandma insisted we go home. We are heading back to Texas."
What? I was dumbfounded. I wandered around trying to make sense of this action. I called my husband who was on a business trip.
" It was probably due to your conversation last night. I'm sure she didn't understand your point of view."
I thought back to the night before. I was standing at the kitchen sink, exhausted after a day in the city, sightseeing. When visitors come from out of state I always feel duty-bound to show them the sights. My tiredness may have turned to an all out case of crankiness. I remember Grandma sitting at the table tense.
"I would really like to know what you would enjoy doing tomorrow."
Did I say that with an edge to my voice?
Grandma always went along with all our ideas. Honestly, I did not know what she liked to do.
Long story short, I was offended by her sudden departure. Six months went by without a phone call or letter. I talked to Grandpa and he played the go between. I have learned how she felt years later. Not because we ever discussed it, because my husband's family did not talk much, but because we forgave each other for the break in connection and renewed our love with time. I see now how she was so vulnerable coming into my space. Her compliance was a gift I did not value. By judging her actions as passive and less than courageous, I alienated her trust and she could not stay under my roof another minute. I was so sorry. We mended that break and before she died I felt close and loved and appreciated. I think she felt the same from me. This life lesson is close to my heart as I undergo breaks and mending with others in my family. A relationship can break but I trust in my Savior Jesus Christ to mend the details.