How do you say goodbye? How do you tell someone it’s ok to let go?
My mom called yesterday and said they were moving my great grandma in to hospice. As I drove to the hospital yesterday these were the questions that consumed my thoughts. A few weeks ago I asked you for prayers for my 95-year-old great grandmother (see post here). She had been doing so much better – that fabulous old lady is one heck of a fighter! But in the last couple of days she’s started to go downhill.
So now there is nothing else the doctors can do and it’s time for us to say goodbye. When Luke and I got to the hospital we walked out of the elevator, I immediately saw my mom and great aunt sitting in one of those little corner waiting areas. My heart immediately sank as I saw their faces. They just looked so sad, tired and were deep in serious conversation. But as soon as they looked up and saw Luke he just brought smiles to their grief-strained faces. It’s amazing how children just light the world around them no matter the circumstances.
The family rotated helping me with Luke so that I could visit with my grandma. Luke, of course, proceeded to run like a little monkey down the hallways yelling and laughing like a banshee. I get really nervous about not inconveniencing other people with my child (particularly in a setting such as a hospital) but when I saw how that boisterous little boy seemed to give everyone a break from the sadness I just decided to not force him to sit and be quiet (in relative moderation by keeping him away from the hospital rooms). By the end of the evening the chaplain, fellow hospital visitors and other medical staff all knew Luke by name.
Before going in to see my grandma I found myself really nervous. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say. I walked in to the room and there was my grandfather (Papa) sitting there holding her hand just talking to her. She was awake and was talking back so I walked up and cheerily said, “Hi Grandma!” I sat at the foot of her bed and Papa quietly slipped out. I just sat there and talked to her about Luke and let her know how much we all loved her. I asked her if there was anything I could get her and she just said, “I hope the Good Lord takes me soon.”
My voice caught in my throat but I managed to get out a, “I know Grandma. He’s right here with us.” I was glad when my stepfather, Don, slipped in the room at that very moment and sat down with us. I was having trouble talking and was trying so hard to not let the tears slip from my eyes. He’s amazing and he just started some small talk about the first time he met grandma. He kept the conversation rolling and I just sat there holding my grandmother’s hand. Finally, I knew I needed to go get Luke to take him home so I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and hesitantly left the room, feeling the need to just say I love you one more time.
Today, my cousins and other family members are going to be arriving in town. They’ve moved her from the hospital to a really nice hospice home so we can all gather and say our goodbyes but there is something else we are going to do. We are GOING TO CELEBRATE and GIVE THANKS….for this amazing woman who has been in our lives for so long, for the great life that she had, as well as for our family.
So today sTORIbook friends, I send up a call for prayers again. Please pray for a quick and peaceful passing of my great grandmother. Please pray for my family and I who are still here. I know the unseen, but ever-present God has his arms around my family right now.
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
This is my sTORI being written as you read. – Love, Mommy Tori