Here’s your friendly reminder to call your grandparents

By Sarah Barrientos | Reporter

My grandmother was many things: spirited, care-free, adventurous and loving. Now, she’s dead. I regret never calling her.

She died from cancer a few years ago, when I was just a sophomore in high school. I remember the most pressing issues I was facing at the time –– Would I get the lead in the school play? (Yes.) Would the cute guitar player at my church finally notice me? (No.) Would the world actually end? (It was 2012, and no.)

My grandmother, and all her pestering attempts to be my friend and ask me how my day was, was frankly, annoying. I had better things to worry about. She would give me gifts, little things to let me know she was thinking of me: Bible verses on small cards, a prayer book, a pair of simple earrings. They collected dust on a shelf somewhere in my room.

She was never a priority to me. I could always call her back later. We could always have dinner some other time. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with her, but just that something else would always come up.

Then she told me about her cancer. I remember the moment clearly –– it was a Sunday, after church. I had worn a brand new outfit to the service, and didn’t see Guitar Boy. I was sulking at my plate as my extended family finished up eating at one of her favorite restaurants. “I have something I need to tell you all,” she said. “Don’t be worried. I’ll be fine, but I have cancer.”

I wish I could say I had reacted with sympathy, or with shock. Instead, I listened to her say “I’ll be fine,” and I went back to my cellphone. Six months later, my grandpa was writing her eulogy.

I was angry for a very long time after she had passed. Angry at my parents, angry at the world, sometimes I would even get angry at her. Now, I realize I was actually just angry at myself for thinking that she would somehow always be around.

If your grandparents are still around, please, don’t make my same mistake. They are getting older, whether you realize it or not. Don’t wait for them to call. Call them up after you bombed a Christian Scriptures quiz to talk about the football game or to tell a funny joke. Have lunch with them at their favorite restaurant or take them to go see a movie they would be interested in. They’ll appreciate it, and you won’t regret it.