Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saying Goodbye...

Grandma and her faithful companion, Bear.
In December of 2013, I moved in with my Grandma James.  I had taken a position at Anderson Parkview and because it was part-time, would not be able to afford my own place.  On the other hand, Grandma had reached the stage in life where she really needed someone around to help her.  So it was a perfect match.  And, though no one said so, I knew when I agreed to move in that I would be with her until she passed away.  And sadly, that time is drawing very near.

Family Vacation 1998
On Sunday, July 3rd, she went into the hospital and on Tuesday, July 5th, it was found that she was having a massive heart attack.  Because she was also dealing with a bleeding issue, there was nothing they could do for the heart attack and because of the heart attack there was nothing they could do to find the bleed.  So, the family was called in and everyone arrived hoping that they wouldn't be too late to say goodbye.  But we were given an unexpected blessing.  For the last few days, though her body is continually failing, her mind has been sharp and we have been able to have some wonderful times together.  Reminiscing, singing, praying, laughing, and even taking Communion together.  Our time with her is now quite short, but the past few days has reminded us of a few things that she had taught us over the years.  Important lessons that we will never forget.

Kindness Counts
Family Game Night
If you ever met my Grandma Claudia, you know the kind of person she is.  Her sweetness just pours out of her.  In fact, every nurse who took care of her in the hospital commented on how sweet she is. She treats every person she meets like a friend and friends are treated like family.  Every nurse that has cared for her has commented on her sweetness.  Last night, when one of them realized that she would be passing away soon, she cried...and these folks only met her a few days ago.  She literally leaves an impact on every person she matter the length of time she is with them.  And her impact is made through her kind, gentle spirit, and her compassion for all those around her.

We love when Grandma gets tickled.
Family is her life
There is never any doubt how Grandma feels about her family.  We all know that her dog, Bear, is her favorite in the family, however her love for the rest of us just pours out of every part of her.  Her words tell us she loves us, her actions show that she loves us, and her prayers surround us.  She brightens our good times and brings comfort and support during our trials.  When she is gone, there will be a hole bigger than Texas in all of our lives.  

Circumstances do NOT define who we are.
Though, there was a lot of joy in Grandma's life, there was a lot of pain as well.  But no matter how bad the situations in her life would get, her circumstances did not define her.  Her love for God showed through every situation that came her way.  Through the good, through the bad, in every day life, The love of Jesus shines through Grandma.

Life is Funny
Grandma and Laura
There will be funny things that happen in our lives.  And those funny circumstances should be shared and laughed over.  Our family has spent many many hours around the kitchen table playing games, talking about our lives, and laughing.  Lots of laughing.  We have many stories on Grandma and ourselves revolving around every day things that went off kilter.  Laughter keeps us going and memories of those times make tough times easier.  

Aunt Rona, Grandma and Rick
Jesus is her best friend.
I can't tell you how many times, I walked out of my room to find Grandma pouring over her Bible.  Even when it was no longer easy for her to read because her eyesight was getting worse, she would have her Bible out.  Studying the words of Scripture with a passion all her own.  When it was told to her that she would probably not survive this current health crisis, her response was simply, "If Jesus lets me stay, that's fine and if He takes me home, that's fine too."  But it was followed closely by words for all of us, "I want to see you all there too!"  And it wasn't a haphazard was a reminder to us that she wanted us to follow Jesus and live in such a way that we would indeed see her in heaven.

We've learned a lot from Grandma...and even now, we are learning how to leave gracefully.  I can not fathom what life will look like without her, but I am so blessed to have had her in my life for all these years. 

Grandma, Dad, and Aunt Rona