I am Currently writing as I sit in the hospital room of my grandmothers as I watch her struggling to breathe- it is by far one of the worst things I have seen. The last couple weeks have been tough hearing and now seeing her decline. Death is not something that we like to talk about very much… it’s one of those things that we don’t like to dwell on usually until the time is close. Well the time is very close it seems for my grandmother to leave this earth and go on to her new home in heaven.
Although I have lost both grandfathers, I have never experienced death from this perspective. I am older now and I understand more of what is happening. My dad’s father passed away when I was 7 years old and although I was sad, I didn’t know him in the way that I have known my grandma, my dad’s mom, who I am now watching in her last days of life. My mom’s dad passed my junior year of college and I remember being at the hospital a couple days before he passed singing songs to him.
But now I am older and I have experienced more life and understand the gap when someone is taken due to death. But beyond that, my grandma is an incredible lady and I will miss her and her influence on my life. She is one of the strongest, most passionate, Godly women I have ever met and she’s my grandma!
While I am sad to see her leave us, I know that she will be going to a better place… a place where there are no more tears, a place where she will be reunited with her love, my grandma, a place of beauty and peace, and a place where she will finally be able to see our Lord and Savior- for that, I am blessed and at peace.
Instead of making this blog any more sappy or sad, I want to reflect on he woman that my grandma is by telling you all some stories!!!
My grandma is almost 97 years old, born in 1920, she has lived through a lot of times and a good life and one thing that she has taught me about life is that it is the people around you that are more important than the things you may have. She went without a lot all her life. She didn’t have much, but she always had an abundance of love and faith. She has always cared more for others than herself and even now as she lays, she asks about all of us and she even talks to my mom about how much she loves her and about loving her mother and who she is.
Here’s a little story of mine… my grandpa had a small garden in the backyard of their home. He loved to plant flowers and he had a strawberry patch, which was one of my favorite places to be since my favorite fruit is strawberries! Every time I visited over the summer I would run to the back yard and look for the strawberries. Well my grandpa and grandma used to make jam out of those strawberries and one summer in particular I went through the strawberry patch and ate every strawberry I could find… out came my grandma yelling, “Erin get out of there… stop eating all my strawberries..” and boy did I hear about what I had done. I had never heard her yell like that before and it kind of scared me, but it is one of the funniest memories that I have now.
Here are some of the beautiful roses my grandpa planted and they still bud and bloom years later!
My grandma has always been sassy and stubborn. My aunt says that her mom had a hand on her that could smack you faster than anything… “don’t you sass me,” she would say. My dad tells me that in a Palliative Care meeting, mom said to the head nurse, “Please do not speak of God is such small ways. He is not the ‘big guy’ or the ‘man upstairs’ (the nurse had said that it was now up to her and the ‘man upstairs’) but He is God, He is holy and He deserves better respect that that!” So, she still has some fire in her. Like a good Baptist, after the nurse left, mom said, “Well, it’s all decided…so let’s have a drink.” (She quickly followed that up with “…a drink of water.”). So, she still has her humor.
My aunt was telling stories and this was one she mentioned about the two older boys, Stan and Loren, who were always getting themselves in trouble. They are grandma’s “rascals” as she called them. One time the boys went out walking down to a creek that was pretty far away from home and one of the boys cut his foot on a bottle. He walked all the way home with a bloody foot – It was bleeding everywhere and grandma couldn’t handle all the blood. She would get woozy seeing the blood and would have to put her head down. She was strong in a lot of ways, but her stomach wasn’t strong enough to handle blood, I guess. Those “rascals” did a lot of crazy things… they loosened the nuts and bolts on the tires of their car, put mud in the gas tank of the car and even growing up played tricks on professors. It was quite amusing hearing all the stories.
Another funny story I heard about was about my grandpa falling through the roof. Grandpa and uncle Loren were upstairs in the attack and grandpa was given Loren a lesson about where to walk and where you shouldn’t step… over the installation. Moments later grandpa’s leg came through the roof, as he accidentally stepped through the installation. I bet Loren was holding back some laughter. Well grandma and aunt Brenda were right below and they said they heard the thud and moments later saw his leg hanging over the dinner table, installation all over the food. They asked if he was alright and then laughed and of course, ate all the food- they weren’t wasters. Grandma dusted off the installation and they ate dinner. Apparently grandpa liked to make pancakes and he would always have a surprise within- things in the fridge he wanted to eat up and not waste. Aunt Brenda told me they had many times where they would bite into a pancake and find corn inside… yuck! But that to me tells me that they wanted to use everything and never waste things that they had.
Grandma is also a prayer warrior and a woman of God’s word… she has always prayed for all of us, her grandkids and her children and has always made time for devotion and bible reading. She would kneel by her bed before her knees began hurting and would spend lots of time praying. Sometimes when I have stayed with her, I would hear her talking late at night and I thought she was asleep… listening, I could tell she was talking to God! She is hard of hearing and had taken her hearing aids out and so she was speaking rather loudly. But this is one of the sweetest things I could have heard! My mom on the phone earlier today mentioned how much grandma has spurred her on in her own faith walk and how she is always trying to be like her. While in the hospital, my dad was reading bible passages and some psalms to grandma and I noticed her trying to speak the words…. she had them all memorized! It was a beautiful sight!
And she is so funny! Even when she is ill and laying in a bed wheezing, she can still make us laugh. Here we are singing to her thinking this might be it and she after about five minutes looks over and says…”is Loren here? ” and Loren standing next to her looks over with an adorning look and says ” yes, I’m right here.” She then said…” my hearing aid is beeping again.” We all busted up laughing… a beautiful moment interrupted with laughter, but it was the best!
Grandma… you will be missed, but heaven will be gaining a beautiful soul and grandpa is waiting to take you on a tour of his beautiful gardens at your mansion… welcome home, my good and faithful servant… Welcome Home!