Lindsay Kriz: Watch out for left field

Lindsay Kriz

The expression “It came out of left field” is such a cliche, and we all know we’re supposed to avoid it in stories, essays, etc.  Sometimes it’s the best way to describe something that literally comes out of nowhere.

Wednesday morning I woke up on my own, before my alarm, and checked my phone. I found a message from my dad, asking me to call him as soon as I could. That wasn’t good news, obviously, and I knew it. 

I assumed something bad was going to happen, and when I called my dad in my bathroom he told me my grandmother was in the last stages of cancer. 

I couldn’t really do anything else but immediately begin to cry. Heart issues run in my family, but not cancer. 

My grandma actually just had bypass surgery a few months ago, so I expected it to be related to that. As far as I had ever known, cancer was not known or expected in the Kriz branch. 

So here’s where “left field” comes in — because it was, quite frankly, out of left field. My grandmother is strong in spirit, but her body has been fragile for a long time. But for something to take over her body, for something to make itself a part of her that never should, is hard to accept. 

My grandma has been a large part of my life since I was born. She and my late grandfather were some of the first people to see my red, soft face and bloodshot eyes. When I would go to day care during the day they would come and pick me up early and give me baths in their kitchen sink. For every birthday since I can remember she would write something inspirational from one of her daily prayer books in my card. And in them she always said I was a wonderful, beautiful young lady. But I only look that way because of her genes. She’s got no one but herself to blame. 

So when I found out Wednesday morning, I wasn’t sure how to feel. Obviously sadness, heartbreak, a sense of insecurity. Who did I tell? Did I run immediately to Facebook to tell the world? Did I call every relative I had and cry to them? Or did I keep it inside? I’ll tell you that I did a little bit of both, but mainly I kept it inside. I’ll tell you something: this isn’t a good thing to keep inside. 

Along with my sadness and the horrible day I had, it was a pretty good day too. People reached out to help. People I didn’t think knew my name or knew the situation were offering their thoughts, prayers and well-wishes, and at times I wanted to laugh and cry, because there really are people out there who care and will go out of their way to help.  

My advice to you is to just be kind to people. Notice that there are people around you. Usually people (myself included) float through college with their agenda on the brain, and sometimes they miss things. I’m telling you from my own experience: just a small smile to someone, or holding a door really can make all the difference. It can shake up a sucky day and make it into a better one. Even if the outcome overall is currently bleak.