Sunday, October 25, 2009

God Gave me the Opportunity.....

A woman with the nicknames: Ma-ha, Slugger Maroo, Princess, Asbestos Mouth?
You may be thinking that people must REALLY disliked her. In all actuality, all these names were given to my Grams out of love. You see, my Grams was the type of person that would just 'grin & bare it'. In other words, a real even-keel individual that you take for granted will be there for you whenever you need her. But, then life gets busy and you tend to overlook keeping atop of those times.......

I never quite grasped how fast the time would fly between these two pictures, until the time was no longer available. My Grams went home to her Savior on October 23, 2009.

We got a call a few weeks back that Grams wasn't feeling too well, and was asking for family. She felt the Lord calling her home; her body didn't want to function as well, and she desired for loved ones to help soften the adjustment. At this time, I started to spend almost every night with her. Helping get drinks, helping to find assistance in turning, covering/uncovering her body with her afghan for temperature comfort. I was fortunate enough to take home a piece of this particular memory with me. Here's my Gram's afghan, that has found a new home on our chair in front of our fireplace:

Pictured above: Sage (3yrs old) with Grams last October, 2008 with her Afghan on her lap.
My Grams found breathing, drinking, adjusting, sleeping....all these things took such immense man-power, that she sadly said, "I still can't believe this is happening to me", and "I feel so helpless"....this coming from a woman not needing NOVOCAINE during dental-filling procedures! Yes, she had reached a breaking point, and YET STILL found reason to smile, and remained optimistic for what lay beyond the shortsightedness of life here on earth! Even though she felt ready to go before God took her, I believe He would use this time as a tool to prepare ME for the loss. We spent one night polishing our fingernails together; I had hoped that that wouldn't be our final night (the nurses told me that residents typically desire to be dolled up as they feel life slipping away), so I said a prayer and Bible verse with every stroke of that nail polish brush......just so I wouldn't break down and cry in front of her. Oh, the next night I lost it while praying with her, but at least the nail polishing party wasn't dampened with tears!

The night before Grams left us, my dad came to visit as well. We enjoyed the laughter of memories that Grams seemed to also enjoy as she listened. After my dad left, I took the opportunity to sing to Grams a few songs (each of my girl's favorite hymns, along with one of my favorites: "As the Deer"--a song they would happen to sing during Sunday church worship 3 days later), prayed for her to find peace, and held her hand so long that my fingers grew numb. You know the saying of "holding some one's hand so long that you couldn't tell where your hand ended, and theirs began"? Yes, I found out what that saying is all about.....but didn't mind a bit! Upon seeing us, one of the nurses stopped to tell me that she just loved watching me with my Grams, because one could tell the deep love I hadfor her as I talked and sat with her.

I also got the opportunity that I had been praying about. When I had my miscarriage in July, I told my Grams that I had bad news to tell her. Without hesitation, her hands flew to her mouth and tears welted in her eyes."You lost the baby!" Yes. We had. But, God gave me the opportunity to give her good news before she, herself, left us. The night before Grams died, I told her "Grams, we're going to be having another baby! The due date is in June--wouldn't it be a blessing to have a baby born on your birthday,the 9th?" (just deep breaths) "Grams, will you hold my other baby until I get up there to hold it?" ( again.....just deep breaths) Now, just because God gave me the opportunity to tell her, doesn't mean he gave me the opportunity to feel completely fulfilled by it. I had to keep in mind I wasn't telling her for MY sake, but for HERS. OH, I knew that if I had found out a few days sooner, she would have given me a huge smile when I told her. Beings as it was, I had to assume that she heard me, and assumed that her heart did a leap with joy. GOD GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY....EXACTLY the way that I had prayed for it!

PICTURED BELOW: Grams holding one of her 10 Great grand-babies, Sophie, at age 3:

We got the call on Friday that Grams was in the process of passing, about 2 hours from when my mother had left her side. Typically there are a few hours between the time that my mom would leave my Grams, and when I would arrive for the night. During this time, the nurses said that her roommate hold her hand (even though my Grams complained about having to live with a crabby roommate!), and that Grandma had slipped away peacefully and quickly between the calls the nurses made to us. We had all made it a habit to say goodbye to her as we left each day like it would be our last.....I always got a smile out of my Grams, as every time I left I said "If you see God, before I see you a place for me up in heaven!"...a smile everytime, until that last night I saw her. I knew then that Grams would soon be leaving us. Now that she has, she will be welcomed among angels, and with my grandfather. "PRINCESS" is now re-united once again with "ACE".......

We all gathered around for a bedside memorial at the nursing home that the the nurses put on as a closure. During this ceremony, one of the nurses shared that she got the pleasure of telling Grams one day that someone (ME!!!) would be coming to take her for an outing outside. The nurse said from that moment on, she was a different woman; grinning, excitedly picking out her sweater, full of talk and excitement. The nurse said she would never forget how good it made her feel to see someone so excited over spending time with another. Here were pictures from her last two outingsthat the nurse spoke about:
ABOVE: Our last picture with Grams, on the Bike Trails

Sierra, 2 yrs, hitching a ride on Gram's wheelchair while at the zoo

Now that she has left, I keep wishing I would've taken her on more trips those last few weeks. I keep thinking I should've come to the nursing home earlier that day and been alongside her when she passed. I then force myself to accept the realization that it is all out of my control. I am not the one in control. God is. What happened is what was what was meant to be. My grams lived a good life, and left everyone whose lives she touched with pleasant memories of her. In fact, she made each of her Grandchildren and great-Grandchildren homemade block quilts and homemade hook rug wall-hangings, here are my girl's, pictured BELOW:

My wall-hanging from my childhood bedroom, that is now hanging in our "BOOK Nook ":
YES! Our future baby has a wall-hanging waiting set aside for the day he/she is born. What a special Great-Grandma to have, with such a vision for her Great-Grand children's future, even before she knew of him/her. She gives of herself, even after she is absent among us. God Bless her legacy!

Please, pray for her remaining family to be continually blessed in our memories of her, so that the comfort we seek in the loss of such an exceptional woman will draw showers of love. The Family Visitation will be Tuesday evening, and the Funeral will be on Wednesday early afternoon. Please keep the family in your prayers if you think of it at these times.


  1. You honored your Grams well, and this is a beautiful story of her life. If I wasn't at work I probably would have cried a bit. Blessings on you and yours :)

  2. What an awesome depiction of Christ's love in action, from a granddaughter to her beloved "Grams". You honored your grandmother in her final months, weeks, days...and in so doing, have honored your Savior and King, and inspired us with your faithfulness.

    Beautiful, Hayley...thanks!

  3. Beautifully written, Hayley. What a blessing your times were with your beloved Grams. You are fortunate to have such amazing memories with a woman as awesome as her! I am sure she appreciated every moment you spent with her :) Congratulations on the new baby--what an amazing gift! I will pray for a healthy pregnancy for you as well.

  4. Hayley, What a memorial to your Grams! Tears pour out of my eyes...She was an amazing woman and your love for her speaks to all of us! Thank God for the gift of her life to you can pass on her legacy! God bless and keep you in His care...somehow I missed your sorry, but I know God has you in His Hands. Congratulations on the new life within you. You are in my prayers, sweet friend. I wish I lived near you! I would love to sit and chat with you. You are a godly inspiration! Hugs! Cindy K.

  5. Yup - I cried. In true Stephanie-form. Mostly because I was remembering things with MY Grandma before she passed away last June.
    Most all of us got to be there when she died... Jackie and I got to hold her hand. It was truly a blessing to be there, because I know she was there to see us after we were born, we got to be there when she died.
    I think it's great all the time you had with your Grandma - those memories you'll be able to carry with you.
    How amazing... as your Grandma has passed on now, you are bringing new life into the world.
    I've ALWAYS believed in the phrase "God doesn't waste a hurt He uses them"
    Your Grandma will pass on her legacy as long as you keep sharing it!!
    I'm here if you ever need to talk though, Hayley!!! xoxoxo!!

    ~ Stephanie P.

  6. Such a sweet tribute and great legacy you have!

    There is an award for you on my blog dear.

    Blessings to you and yours,