I had her close by for almost a year. I saw her three to five times a week. We shared many meals, conversations, tears, and special beyond words moments. I had the privilege and blessing of putting lotion on her feet, washing her false teeth, and tucking her into bed at almost every visit.
She had a few month of increasing strength, then turned a corner and began gradually declining. As she got weaker, her pain increased. She talked less and ate less.
Six weeks after her 99th birthday she stepped into heaven. Yes, I miss her every day, and there are still hard moments, but I know she is where she needs to be.
In my next post I will share some of the things I learned from her during our time together.
It has been a summer to remember; a summer that has challenged my physical and emotional stamina. School is beginning again and things have almost setted down – almost.
On June 9, my precious grandmother fell. Up until that day she lived at home and did fairly well for someone who is 98 years old. That day, however, was a ‘game changer’. The circumstances of the fall made evident the fact that she could no longer live at home. She fell during the middle of the night and lay in the floor for several hours. Oh, yes. She had a ‘lifeline’ bracelet on her wrist. She decided not to call them because she knew the paramedics would take her to the hospital. Sigh. Well, her main injury was broken ribs. She spent a week in the hospital.
When I received the call that she had fallen, I was teaching music in Vacation Bible School at my church. I immediately left, packed my suitcase and drove to her home, which is two hours from my house.
Mom, at the age of 98, has outlived most of her family. She has buried two sons, a husband, and all of her brothers and sisters. I am the oldest grandchild, and the one who has received the mantle of caring for her. Though this is no small task, I count it to be a privilege and blessing. I don’t know if I can put into words what she means to me and how much I love her.
I will be sharing in the next few posts what I have learned from her this summer.
I recently spent the night with my grandmother, Mom. She is now 97, still living at home, and still as spunky as ever. I took her to the doctor for a checkup where he pronounced her to be doing very well. She continues to gain weight, strength, and alertness. She is truly amazing.
After her doctor’s appointment we went out for lunch. That’s our tradition, you see. It has been challenging at times to handle the logistics of getting her into and out of a restaurant with her walker, and then finding table and chairs that are at the right height. Her back is literally shaped like a crooked question mark and she is now very little and very stooped. There have been times where her food has been too high for her to see, but she has not complained. She just enjoys her meal.
On this occasion, everything worked out just fine. We were able to park close to the door of the restaurant and she had no trouble getting in. The table and chairs were exactly the right height and we put a pillow behind her back to cushion her spine from the rungs in the back of the chair. We shared a chicken strip plate and she ate well.
It doesn’t matter where we are, at the doctor’s office, hospital, or restaurant, the same thing happens. You can count on it. Though it is no longer surprising, it is still amazing to watch. People are drawn to my grandmother. Everyone who passes her smiles. Many go out of their way to talk to her. I believe it is her goodness, her love, her joy, that makes her a people magnet. They sense all this and more in her, and they desire to know her even if it is just for a moment.
As her granddaughter, I can’t tell you how it thrills my heart to watch this take place time after time. I have always known these things about Mom, but seeing it confirmed in the smiles of other people is an unmeasurable treasure.
I believe that if her body holds up, she has the zest for life to reach and go beyond the century mark.