My Grandmother. part 2

“It’s not the cleaning I’m after….it’s the sweeping” Part 1

This is the journal entry from the evening I referred to in the previous post about my grandmother. I’m not sure what I want to call the series, but I think it is good to remember when your heart is longing to do so. Even if it’s a little painful.

Sept. 4 2008(two years ago today)

I went to see Memaw to say good night. My mother said she was not doing well today.

I am so glad that i did. She is in such a state.  As I walked down the hall in the nursing home, I wondered how many times I had made that trek in the last two years. Not nearly as much as my mother or uncle. She’s rarely without company.

Tonight that hall way went from being despised by me with its horrible smells of aging that are undeniable, to being one i desperately clung to for support and encouragement when I saw that my grandmother’s door was closed.

Why was the door shut?! It’s rarely shut. I was a little panicked at that because she has been going down hill since last month, but I was relieved when I knocked and saw the nurses head peek out.

She was weighing memaw.  When I asked the results she said it in such a way that felt defeated. 109 lbs. She is still losing weight.

As I stood outside, waiting, I could see into the room across the hall. The woman that was in the NH due to a stroke. It made me squirrelly; she was so young.

I thought of all of the people who have died since my grandmother has been a resident.

It hit me, that once so full of spunk, she has now become “one of those people.” She has become one of those people where you walk pass her room and feel such a sense of despair. of hopelessness. of discomfort with the painful reminder that we all will have an end that we cannot control.

It makes you want to look away. To pretend it’s not the way it really is. Now people pass her room with the same look that I would give others when I scooted by pushing her around in the wheel chair.

But all of those stories. All of those people. It can’t be hopeless, it can’t be meaningless.  They all had lives and have stories that matter.

And for memaw, the end means freedom. Freedom from a body that doesn’t work anymore. I keep trying to tell myself that she is preparing for a home-coming. But then, why do I feel so afraid?

These are  not things we can make sense of, we can only receive what the Lord has to show us in it.  My hands are open to receive from you, Lord. Help me to stay connected til the end. Help me not to be afraid. Help me not to run away, from her going away.

I sat on her bed and held her bony hand in mine. Mine that looked once again like a child’s hand in her own. How many times have I needed her hands? To take care of me. To help me with my math. To make us dinner. To drive me to practices. To buy me things that only a grandmother can be manipulated into doing so. To think that soon I will no longer have access to them.

I sat and looked at her face. Her head was cocked back and she was asleep. I could see her face at rest, I mean in the final rest. This was totally different from anytime before. And I started to cry.

What is it like to be a month away from your 91 st birthday,  and know that you may not make it to that? To see and sense, that you are on a threshold of some sort.  I swear, she has always seemed immortal to me. Or maybe it’s just what I needed to believe.

She woke up for a moment and told me that she was tired. It pained me to do so, but I told her it was alright to be tired. She’s worked her entire life, never allowing herself to rest. Some people just need our permission. I gave her mine. And she smiled.

I told her that I loved her. And she said, “I love you too. I love you all.”

And then she fell back asleep. It was dark.

I said a quiet prayer. “Thank you Jesus, for all of those years. For honoring my little girl request that she see me grow up. That she meet my children. For giving me so many more years than I hoped for.”

**we had two weeks left with her. she taught me a great deal in those final moments.**

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