Friday, October 9, 2009

My Grams

In the past I have always been uncomfortable in discussing death and thinking about death......God is changing me in this respect. He has broken away my inhibitions by completely submerging me in the concept. I have dealt with 2 close deaths so far this year, and will be sadly expecting another one shortly. My mom's mom in January, you can read the full story here: Grandma Has Left Us . The next, quite interestingly, someone whom I had never met, read it here: God's Baby . My third one I'm mournfully anticipating is one of a woman whom I greatly admire, respect and love: My dad's Grams. Her need for support and company right now, far outweighs any uncomfortablness I have of the situation. I have prayerfully, but confidently set aside any apprehensions of experiencing such a loss in person, and am wanting and desiring to be a part of her miracle with her!I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the recent increase in time with this special lady, someone who I've always "known", but yet not, in a sense. When you REALLY get to "know" someone, it is typically in their times of difficulty--how they react to others, how they react to discomfort, how they react to unexpected situations. My Grams is an exceptional lady who I currently have the blessing of getting to know on a deeper, adult level in her final days with us. She is someone who has always been familiar to me in my life journey, someone who I will be deeply hurting for, while in her absence.
If you were familiar with the basics on my Grams, you would find she was born in 1920, had 3 children (my father being her only boy) & lost her hard-working husband to a heart condition early in life. So has lived contently alone for the past 30 some years--spending most of her waking hours watching Mass on TV and praying with one of her many rosaries.

Spending several hours alone with her in a nursing home room, you would ALSO find out that she is an exceptionally selfless individual. When I spend the day with her, she wants to make sure my feet are up, wants to make sure my husband is functional without me, wants to make sure I have enough light during her sleep hours to read the book I can't quite focus on anyways, wants to make sure I am eating and drinking....all the while, not being able to meet her own basic needs. Most people would be focused on having help with various desires....not Grams. While overlooking her own needs, she is continually looking to have mine met.

Having lived so many years alone, my Grams is content and thankful in any one's presence, therefore one can't help but feel the same in hers. In fact, when I think of my Grandma, the first word that comes to mind is "peace". Everything about her is peaceful--her posture, her facial expressions, even the mood she puts out onto people for them to reflect back. In the company of others, she patiently waits for an opportune moment for conversation to come up......if none does, she will continue to sit peacefully with a smile on her face, all the while putting you completely at ease. Since we all would know what she is TYPICALLY like, it makes it a peaceful time to spend time with her NOW, knowing that she is completely happy with only smiles and silence if necessary.

I recall the first evening in her nursing home that I was blessed in spending with her. She was to be having her first shower.....something that in a nursing home is terribly unflattering, leaving no room for her typical discretion. I unquestionably volunteered to stay with her, knowing that for ANYONE, it would be a humiliating experience as a first time. Being familiar with my Grams unselfish nature, I knew she would've had me go, had I not volunteered. What a woman! She is always ready to face anything coming at her with a smile and confidence, no questions asked, no complaints to be filed. She is the perfect example of what I strive for in being submissive. Not submissive in that she lets others walk all over her...but submissive in that she respects others enough to bipass her own agenda.

That same night, I enjoyed her simple pleasure in me brushing her hair, holding her hand while falling asleep, and cozying up alongside her in her "new" and unfamiliar bed. We both knew that that bed would take some getting used to, so I think we both recall that evening with great pleasure, knowing that our simulated "slumber party" made the adjustment THAT much easier for us both. I stayed as late as a could, all the while bringing up childhood memories for both of us to enjoy. This memory is one of my favorite memories with her, because it was the first time she let me into her uninhibited heart.

Even though my grandma is now struggling for deep breaths, has to be turned over by having her body manually adjusted by others, and is limited with how much she is able to say.....she continues to keep a smile on her face while she remains optimistic about her short-term future. She knows what is around the corner, she has spent many years and many hours praying and waiting for this upcoming moment. Spending time with God in reverence and patience is something my Grams is familiar with.....and something that has greatly prepared her for her current life experience. I ask that you pray for her continued strength, and for a continued absence of pain to make her exit a "PEACEFUL" one....something she would be familiar with.

I am on my Grandma's lap, my brother Grant is next to us
My cousin Jody, my sister Heather, my cousin Amy

Typical silliness associated with memories of our Gram's house. Yes, that is me, resting a top of my father's head. Yes, those are Cheetos in my ears & nose. Yes, that is a Chocolate Covered Cherry hanging out in my mouth. Yes, this is our Christmas picture at my Gram's house that year.......

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read about this remarkable woman. I know this will be an immensly difficult time for us, no matter how prepared we are for it, and no matter how ready my Grams is. Please surround my family with prayers when we cross your mind in the next week.

God Bless.
Ms. Salubrious


  1. What a neat tribute to your grandma. . .made me teary.

  2. Your words give me strength and confidence in Jesus! Thank you for sharing such personal and deep thoughts...You are one of a kind! Hugs
    Cindy Kolar