This past week has been a bit of an emotional overload for me and a lot of my family. My 89 year old grandma, who is quite self-sufficient, has a driver’s license, takes care of herself, her son, her dog, her roses, and cleans her windows by standing on the kitchen counter, had a stroke on Sunday. Luckily my uncle was there and rushed her to the hospital in time to stop a lot of the bad that could have happened. Her language has been effected, but she is quickly recovering that and while she goes back and forth and gives us yet a new scare every day, she is stubborn and a fighter and if you tell her she needs to do something – like practice the days of the week and the months of the year, she will do it without being reminded.
Grandma has lived an amazing life – she has 5 children – over 32 grand and great-grand children, and she is strong and healthy and the most loyal follower of Jesus that I have ever ever met. Grandma taught me to play scrabble BY THE RULES and never did “let” me win – even as a very small kid. She also taught me bible stories and how to make clove cookies. She taught me the meaning of posterity and games at Grandma’s house always included dusting the base boards and learning how to correctly write in cursive. She has kept a beautiful log of our family – not only in the family bible but in the numerous photo albums strewn about the living room – each one organized per year or event and every once in a while a letter thrown in, written at the time the pictures were taken, recording what was happening in life at that point.
Grandma though, hasn’t understood why she has had to live this long, for a while now. 89, you might say, isn’t that old! and for sure, I agree, but my grandfather, to whom she was married for over 50 years, died almost 15 years ago now, and grandma hasn’t really seen the point of her being around since then. I would say it took Grandma about 2 years after Grandpa died, to “suck it up” and decide that God was still in charge and there must be some reason that she was still here – and she started a couple of bible studies, and started ministering to other widows and started discovering parts of her past that she didn’t know.
2 years ago, grandma, whose sight is not as it once was, but still not bad enough to take away her license, “blacked out” or fell asleep, or something, and drove off the road, flipped over a culvert and totaled her car – Breaking her Neck! – she lived through this, regained her strength, wore a horrible neck brace for almost a year before the doctor informed her that due to osteoporosis and age, her neck would never actually refuse and she could discontinue wearing the neck brace in the name of quality of life. Now, take off the neck brace and what does she do? petition twice to get her license back – and WIN.
Grandma is thoughtful, well-read, well-spoken (the grammar nazi of the family), and her very worst nightmare has always been to have a stroke and end up not able to communicate – even worse, to have a stroke which landed her some how unable to function properly and in a convalescent home. On Monday, after the stroke was under control and doctors were discussing what to do about and with and what the next steps to take with Grandma might be; a convalescent rehabilitation center came up as a probable direction – my heart broke for her, and I cried. I cried for her because she would rather die than be in a convalescent home being taken care of, and she might not be able to have a choice in the matter.
Monday evening I went to see grandma for the first time since the drama began and as I walked in the room with a nurse who woke her up, Grandma said “I love you” and then could not make out any other words – but tears poured from her eyes. I sat next to her and held her hand and cried with her – happy that she was alive and cognizant of her surroundings, no matter how much she might detest them or not be able to control them. Tears of sadness and joy were mixed up entirely together as grandma held my hand while the nurse tried to get her to speak and while she couldn’t – and the frustration behind her eyes was as clear as the tears pouring from them. It was an emotional night and one which I’m glad I got to share with Grandma. Tuesday and Wednesday I stayed and her progress was amazing. Bright and early the next day, grandma had regained a lot of her ability to speak and told me she knew my sister and I had come the night before but she couldn’t speak and it made her sad we had to see her like that, and then she said something which I knew she has been thinking all along
“Wasn’t breaking my neck enough?!” There was a lot more, but basically, she again does not understand what God could have in store for her life – what is it that He wants of her – and wasn’t it enough to go through the rehabilitation of breaking her neck and return to a different normalcy – what could he want from her now.
As you can tell, I’m still in a bit of emotional run-around – I’m still processing everything that has happened this week. I came home to my kids on Wednesday – brought my nephews with me and they’re all having a blast. My life carries on much the same as it did last week, except for now I call a couple of times a day for Grandma updates, and now I’m trying to figure out when I can or should go back up to see her again. All I can think though, as my days are so very normal, is “When is enough? What is enough?” and really God? Grandma has worked so hard her whole life, can’t she come home? and at the same time, on a human level, I’m glad for a little while longer with her.
Faith is such a thin line – just like tears of sorrow and joy – we are constantly struggling to take the reigns of our own lives and tell God to “shove it” and just ride along for a while, but He’s always going to win, and our questions of “When and What is enough?’ will for sure be answered one day, but until then, this struggle is so tiring. Grandma and Job – good examples of faithful, constant struggle. Ones that even while frustrated, trust Jesus as their savior.
Alright guys, so much for a short and to the point post tonight huh? Sleep well all.