To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.
We got a call this last Sunday afternoon, letting us know that John’s paternal grandmother was suddenly very ill and close to death.
When we sat the boys down to explain what was happening to Great-Grandma, Caleb quietly and innocently said to his Dad “Oh. So she’ll get to see her husband again very soon, won’t she?” John answered yes. Grandpa George has been in heaven two years now, waiting patiently.
So we threw some clothes into suitcases and left for the 6 hour drive to Washington. Grandma Virginia had been admitted to the hospital a few days before. A simple case of dehydration that suddenly, without warning,
went downhill fast. Kidneys failing, liver problems, lots of pain for her and questions for those watching her suffer…finally diagnosed yesterday as stomach cancer. Doctors promising to make her comfortable and ease her pain without interfering with the process of her body and spirit, slowly separating. Because we know her precious soul is about to be in a much better place, the waiting is bittersweet. What I will remember, always, was how each of us privileged to be at her side spent that time. Interpreting her low moaning responses as she responded to the whispered reminders, the many “we love you”s. Each of us, exhaling along with her slow and labored breathing. The quiet humm of the oxygen mask. The noise of regular hospital life in the hallway, strangers chatter intruding upon the sacredness of the bedside. Her grown sons, with tears in their eyes. White hair against a white pillowcase. The end of 80 plus years of living and loving and learning. The beginning of eternity, living and loving and learning.
We’re home now, for a few days of work. We’re clearing the schedule, setting the suitcases near. Waiting for the call that says her long fight is over, and she is home with Jesus.