A little over a week ago, my grandma was picking out carpet colors for her new apartment. A helpful woman who worked for the senior facility my grandma would be moving into brought in an oversized catalog, and opened it before us on a table.
Grandma drew in a breath.
We thought they'd give her a choice between taupe and cream or some such standard carpet color, but shown on the catalog were carpet samples of every color imaginable. I saw her eyes slide down to the carpet square in the lower left corner: Pink.
No doubt about it. It wasn't a brownish shade of pink or a subtle creamy pink, it was a warm, rose hue. She passed her hand over the square and remarked on the color's similarity to the pink detailing in her couch. She looked up at her daughter, who was frowning slightly and motioning toward more neutral shades.
"I think I want pink," she said in her soft, Texan way.
Some more minor objections were made, but, after all, Grandma would be the one moving into the apartment and if she wanted a pink carpet, then by God, she would have it, and it would be perfect. I mentally cheered her victory.
We toured the building. She chose bathroom tile and ceiling fans. We surveyed the dining room and admired the library. We said hello to other tenants -- her soon-to-be neighbors.
After a bit, we parted ways. We hugged and kissed. Grandma gave me a carrot cake-muffin she'd received as part of her breakfast -- she can't eat sugar due to her diabetes.
Grandma returned home. I'm told she went shopping a few times with my aunt last week. She was in high spirits, with Christmas approaching and her new apartment being readied for early January occupancy.
Friday morning her speech was slurred from a stroke she'd apparently suffered. Friday night, she was gone.
I'm wrestling with a few emotions.
I'm heartbroken that she left so unexpectedly.
I'm happy she's with the Lord. As she's said many times, she is deeply religious and has always known with conviction that she'd eventually get to hang out with God for eternity.
I'm glad her suffering was short.
I'm angry I'll never get to see her again. I should have videotaped her doing something -- anything -- at some point. I'd pay anything to hear her say, "Well, Paul..."
And I keep coming back to that pink carpet. It makes no sense but I'm agonizing over the apartment that will never be. Surely the carpet never even had time to be installed.
There must be some greater lesson for me that has little to do with carpet and more to do with choosing what you really want. Other people's desires for me (or you) be damned. Let's not wait until we're 80 to realize that if we choose the pink carpet it's not the end of the world. Others might think we're nuts but, ahhh. That carpet.
It would've really been something.