A few days ago my ninety-three year old maternal grandmother was told by her doctor that she realistically has about one month more of life on this earth. She has a kind of cancer that attacks muscle.
After a brief hospitalization, she had moved into a nursing home about a month ago. My mother and father have been especially busy getting grandma settled into her new living quarters.
At 93 years old, my grandmother’s body is simply wearing out. She’s had some failing eyesight and of course the reduced hearing without hearing aids that naturally come with such advanced age. However, she has remained almost entirely lucid.
My father reported that the doctor said Grandma had “two months to live and one of those months is over.” With such a pronouncement there is a more urgent air in how people treat someone. I know that my primary concern was if my Grandmother’s eternal destination was secure in Jesus Christ.
You see, both my Grandfather (he passed in 1992) and my grandmother would refer to “the man upstairs,” but didn’t really talk much about spiritual matters or other such things as they saw them as too personal to talk to other people about. However, my Grandmother knows how demonstrative I am about my love for the Savior and the Word of God, so she is very open to my sharing my beliefs on the way to learning more about hers.
In just such a way, I have been able to have fantastic one on one, soul connected time with Grandma.
I am spending more time just sitting alongside her on her bed, holding hands lately. We share remembrances and jokes, laughter and meaningful silence. Grandma says things like, “I’ll be outta the way pretty soon,” not so much in a pessimistic kind of way. but more of an acceptance that she doesn’t have much time left. As she puts it, “I’m just moving on to the next step.”
This is sad, however there is so very much to be thankful for. She is ninety three yet mentally aware of everything and everyone around her. She has eyesight and hearing and speech. Although she has a cannula for supplemental oxygen, she is not really hooked up to machines to prolong the process.
When I asked, “Grandma, what can I do for you? Anything.” She answered, “just pray.” “What shall I pray for you Grandma? Just tell me and I will pray right now.” “Just pray for peace and no pain.” And I have been continuing to do just that. Likewise, she said that it was alright for me to share with others.
Right now, I am praising God. Those prayers are being answered even now. She is not in pain according to her. And she is at peace, actually smiling quite a bit as we visit. Plus, I keep getting the feeling that when it is time, she is simply going to pass in her sleep.
I see it as Grandma is on the front porch to our heavenly home. She’s about to go inside, however she is lingering a bit on the porch to wave goodbye to the neighbors and loved ones remaining on this earth for a bit longer. God knows the exact hour of her passing from this earth and into His presence. However, we are hoping that we will have the blessing of her presence here for a bit longer. My sister in Denver is due to arrive in about two weeks and would like to spend some quality time with Grandma and give her one last hug.
Facing the inevitable death of my aged grandmother is indeed sad. I selfishly hope that she will linger longer with us. However, I thank God for the everlasting hope that we share. We talk about it now. She has moments of fear, and we talk together. I may not always be at her side, nor may I have any real power to help her, but God has promised us that He has everything under control and He is going to be here the entire time.
We spend time laughing and just enjoying being together. We talk about the Indiana Fever women’s NBA team that are one game away from winning the finals! The Indianapolis Colts football team that has an undefeated season right now. Both of these sports teams along with the Pacers are favorites topics of conversation for Grandma.
Tomorrow, I am going to bring the mandolin when I visit so that I can play and sing with her. She played this mandolin many years, but finally set it aside when it became to difficult to continue to play. My mother then inherited it, but didn’t play it, so my mother let me use it as some of the bands I play with needed mandolin.
I was surprised at how quickly I learned it. Wonderfully, this mandolin practically plays gospel music by itself and I am along for the ride! A friend of mine said it must be anointed from the many, many years that Grandma played all those “gospel sings”. Whatever, the reason, I am going to play for my grandmother tomorrow. She had helped me learn art when I was younger, and now, she helps me with smiles as I play her mandolin, that I have named “Dolly,’ since that is Grandma’s first name.
In closing: Dear friends, cherish your loved ones while you have them with you. Please excuse me, I’m going to just sit on the porch with Grandma for a while : )