Leaving Your Legacy - Grandma
Leaving Your Legacy - Grandma
Tuesday, February 16. It was a day like any other day. Hurrying to work because traffic is always heavy in the mornings. Admonishing myself because I knew I should have left the house a few minutes earlier. Last night was rough though.
I stayed at Grandma’s house later than I normally would have, on my ritual Monday night visiting. Last night was very different for sure. She was different. My Uncle Jeff had gone home since I was there & Mom was still over at my little sister’s house, watching my 2 nieces. So Grandma & me had an uncanny hour and a half all to ourselves.
I had brought a subway sandwich, but decided to lay it on the table. I also swung by the pharmacy and picked up a new Rx, liquid morphine. Mom was crying when she asked me to get it. Grandma was asleep in her chair, so I took a seat on the couch, just watching her for a minute; looking at her neck & eyes and noticing how skinny she really was getting. I had noticed before, when rubbing the Voltaren cream on her back weekly, but the cancer was really taking it’s toll lately. I saw her on Sunday too. She was so proud of her weight.
“The nurse weighed me when she was here, you wanna know how much I weighed?”
“Sure, how much?”
“Really?! Wow, see all those years of saying you were too fat, you finally got down to the weight you wanted.”
She rolled her eyes at me but smiled.
“Hey, the bright side. You’re ready for bikini weather! See, it’ll be summer soon; I can totally push you down to the pool.”
“Ohhhh yea, won’t these look lovely?” As she shakes the skin right above her knee.
She had taken a Lorazepam today, so I continued to sit and watch her until something caught my eye on the side table. My little sister had filed her nails on Saturday and Grandma asked her to bring out her french tip nail polish set...they didn’t have time to get to it on Saturday. As I sat staring at the polish & wondering if I would disturb her too much, I had a deep and sincere feeling that I should paint them. So after about 45 minutes, a phone call, & Grandma waking up about 12 times due to her cough, then promptly falling back asleep, they were painted. Beautiful. She got mad one of the coughing bouts, because she felt her nail stick to her blanket; she just knew she ruined her nails. For about the 2 minutes in between each time she was somewhat alert I teased her:
“You’re just a trouble maker aren’t you? You sleep all day while I’m gone & the minute I bust out the nail polish, you decide to wake up and foil my plans.”
“You brat.” As she smiles & tries to laugh.
Me smiling, “would you like some water?”
“Ok, you have to suck it from the sponge though ok? Just open your mouth & I’ll help you.”
“What? Why? I can do it.”
Me again smiling, “No I can help you.”
“Because you can’t hold the cup Grandma.”
There was some dripping down her chin to fall on her shirt that said, “Beautiful”. She quickly tried to wipe it away.
Me laughing, “Nooo! Get it, hurry! You’ll melt.”
After 3 rounds of going to the bathroom w/ help, just a week ago she could go alone, eating 4 bites of peaches, taking the new med, rubbing some essential oil on her feet, trying to brush her teeth, & her getting mad at Mom & I because she could pull up her own pants!!...it was time for bed. We prayed with her. This was the third time I’d heard her admit this…
“I can’t do this guys.”
“Do what Grandma?”
“I just can’t, I can’t do this…the cancer.”
“Grandma, there’s a reason why you’re still with us.”
“Will you stay with me? Just 15 minutes.”
“We’re both right here Grandma, we’re not going anywhere.”
She was so restless; I assumed it was the morphine. Mom said she’d never been that restless before. After about 35 minutes, a Lorazepam, respitory secretion drops, a cold washcloth, & turning on the baby monitor, we left the room. Mentally exhausted. We read through the new medicine together, with tons of questions. I told Mom to get some rest, “Just keep the baby monitor close.”
The drive home felt long. The radio was off. I still hadn’t eaten; I wasn’t hungry. All I could think about was God’s will & trusting him. I prayed. It was apparent that His will was not for her to be healed. I prayed for Him to take her home, tonight.
Tonight was so different. She was hurting & it was different than normal. She was feisty as normal, but only when we had to move around a lot & she was coherent enough. She didn’t deserve this. She had been a faithful child of His. I shared that He wants good things for His children.
“Take her home Lord, take her home, tonight. At this point it would be selfish of me to ask you to keep her here longer, please take her home, tonight.”
I woke up the next morning at 5:30; did my morning devotional, prayed that same prayer, & did a short workout. Hurrying around like I normally do, quickly jetted off in the car. I was almost to work, kicking myself for not leaving earlier. About 10 minutes until I get there, my phone rings. Mom. I knew. I started to decelerate before answering, waited a second, then answered.
“She’s gone Keri, Mom’s gone.” She was crying.
I quickly pulled into the center turning lane, putting on my emergency flashers while answering/crying, “Ok. I’ll be there soon. I love you.”
I sat in the middle lane for a good 3-4 minutes, crying. A wave of emotions coming over me. Sad… but relieved. Thankful for answered prayers. How affirming it was that God was listening. He knew she’d had enough; she didn’t deserve to fight any longer and be in so much pain. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. I had to remind her of that 2 or 3 times; she’d always smile and say I was right.
Finally I get the common sense to get out of the center lane and pulled into a gas station parking space.
“I love you Lord. Thank you. Thank you for being faithful & taking her home. Thank you that she doesn’t have to suffer anymore & that you’re listening.” God’s timing is perfect.
However, as thankful as I was that he was listening & that she was with Him now…the true reality started to set in. She was gone. One of my best friends, the one person I’m most like, is gone. I text Mark, “Grandma’s gone love.” I know he’s at a conference in Texas and probably can’t make it back. Now I’m hyperventilating. I couldn’t stop. I quickly turned on the AC full blast and was about to stick my head between my legs when he called…
It hurts. I had an appointment on Monday, which for some reason, I felt a strong urge to cancel, I did. I had a Mastermind call at 8:30 Monday night, I told them I couldn’t make it, something I rarely do. I’m so glad I listened to that still, small voice, & stayed. I’m so glad I told Mom, “no”, the 4 times she told me to just go home and eat something. I’m so glad I have God to fall back on. I really hope anyone reading this story can take away two things from my Grandma’s struggle & my pain:
Listen. Listen to that still, small voice. Don’t get so caught up in our schedules, lives, and dreams, that we forget what really matters, the people and relationships. The top will look very lonely if you don’t have quality people around you to celebrate with.
Have Faith. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned in my short time here. God knows so much better than we do. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve said, “Oh my goodness Lord. I’m sooooo glad you have the reins, because if I would have gotten what I wanted, it would have been so much worse.” Even though it was painful at the time. I know I didn’t touch on this much, but my Grandma had an extreme amount of Faith & Love for God. She was so strong. So stubborn. So determined.
At 6:30 a.m. on February 16, 2016, my Grandma ended her fight with cancer.
I’m going to miss you Grandma, too much. I’m so glad God let me borrow you for the time He did. He missed you too though & it was time to go home…I love you.