|By Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR|
I’ll always remember that day. A frantic call at five in the morning, my mother leaving in a blur, then the truth stabbing into my chest an hour later. Though I wasn’t as close to my grandma as I had longed to be, it was the first time in my memory death had claimed someone in my family.
Falling to my knees, I didn’t just cry; I sobbed. I didn’t just pray; I screamed. In that single moment of realization, it was like I was snapping.
She was gone, and it stung like a thousand wasps attacking my vulnerable heart.
Two years later, I have moved on. Not from her, but from that broken time in my life. Instead of succumbing to the venom, I allowed it to make me stronger. What doesn’t kill you, right?
Not only have I gotten more tough with that experience, I have learned to make a priority of staying close with those I love. Make the moments matter. Though she’s not a part of my family, our elderly neighbor is part of my philosophy.
Mrs. P is approaching ninety, yet she’s as sharp as a tack. While she could give in to old age, she chooses to volunteer at the church and visit those at the nursing home. Her smile is as bright as the old photographs portray.
I walk over to her house to check on her, and she greets me with a laugh and a grin. Then she puts me to work planting flowers, pulling weeds, rearranging her spice rack, whatever she needs done. I don’t mind at all. As I complete the tasks, we talk. She tells me about her kids, her kid’s kids, and how she’s finally starting to feel old. I blab about school, writing, and my personal life.
But it’s those times when all the work is done that mean the most. We sit on her porch swing and talk some more. Life, death, love, hate. She tells me about her late husband and the day he passed. How those around her have health problems.
How she’s the happiest woman in the world, despite all her bouts with demons.
It’s the most refreshing part of my day, week, year, talking with her and hearing those stories. It makes the hole created by my grandmother’s absence mend itself shut.
At the end of the day, when I leave her house and walk back home, I think a lot. I think about how blessed I am to know Mrs. P, her life, and her admiration.
More importantly, I think about how, out of heartache and a personal Hell, I gained a better understanding of those who love me and how to never take them for granted.
I hope you do the same.
In this edition of Five Questions, we twist and turn through Sonoma, the road course/Chase debate, who will be good on Sunday, and what’s really up with Brad Keselowski.
Does there need to be a road course in The Chase? This has been a debate that’s been going on for awhile, and I’m finally here to silence it: a champion needs to be diverse, meaning that he can excel at going left and right. Therefore, a road course spot needs to be in The Chase.
Who can win in wine country? You have rookies, you have road-course ringers, and you have those drivers who are kinda sorta good at maneuvering at this sort of venue. So exactly who will do well this weekend? Those who come to mind are Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kurt Busch. The first two are ringers, perfected by experience in multiple racing series. But Busch? Remember how he ran at Sonoma last year. He was a man possessed. Also, he’s been on a great run as of late. I expect him in Victory Lane.
Why is the Biffle/Edwards issue an actual issue? This is a topic that grinds my gears. Greg Biffle had a huge lead near the end of the race, and Carl Edwards was second. Soon, the No. 99 ended up with debris on his grille. The team decided to ask The Biff if he would fall back to help get the trash off, and the answer was “No.” So people are upset because he “wasn’t being a teammate.” When you’re leading and stealing a race away, you aren’t thinking about anyone else. Every man for himself. Simple as that.
Brad Keselowski: blabbermouth or genius? It’s still funny that people think Keselowski cares how upset he makes everyone with his comments. After his remarks about Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, the media went crazy. However, it’s his obligation as a champion to look out for the sport. The way he does that may be a bit controversial, yet that’s his interpretation of the privilege. We need to respect that he has these observations and allow him to speak. That’s his right as a champion.
Who is your Mrs. P? We have all been through hardships, whether we want to reflect on it or not. From the depths of a seemingly bottomless pit of darkness, you have climbed out. You couldn’t have healed all by yourself, though. In the comment section, tell me about someone who has helped you through a rough time in your life. I would love to hear your stories.