Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving. . .

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's so hard to believe another year has gone by since last Thanksgiving. Our family Thanksgiving tradition growing up was to load up after school got out on Wednesday (before they actually took the whole week off) and drive to Lamesa, TX (south of Lubbock about 40 miles) and spend the weekend at my grandma and granddad's house. I can remember being so excited about getting to go see my grandparents. They have a small house, but it was filled with so much love. I spent pretty much every Thanksgiving out there (except the year we went to Steak and Ale when my grandma had open heart surgery and we couldn't go to Lamesa----still a good year, but we really missed my grandparents). After Tra and I got married we also went out for the first few years for at least part of the weekend.

My grandma had a pretty severe stroke 2 years ago and we even went out that year. She surprised all the doctors and had a fairly decent recovery when they all thought she should have died. She was severly affected by it though, and although she had her mind still in tact, she was physically too weak to do much of anything. She could walk with her walker for a little bit around the house, but no more cooking, cleaning, running errands, serving others----which is what she lived for. My sweet granddad so willingly accepted the role reversal and did EVERYTHING for her. We have been so blessed to have her around since then---even in such a weak physical state. Something happened to her this past weekend and she has been in the hospital since then undergoing several tests so that the doctors can figure out what the problem is. She's pretty much unconscious most of the time and my mom has prepared us that it doesn't look good. She and my granddad are having the hard talks of what they will do in the worse case scenario. Both of my mom's brothers and their families are in Alaska, so that leaves the 2 of them to do most of the hard stuff.

I have such mixed emotions---which is normal I'm sure. I'm so sad to think of my life without her---even though the REAL her has been gone for 2 years. I could still call her and talk to her and hear her say, "Oh Shelma! How's my baby girl?" (meaning me) and then follow up with, "How's my other baby girl?" (meaning Hayley) She has been such a huge part of shaping my life. But then at the same time, I'm praying that God will take her to spare her from any more discomfort or pain in this life. She used to take me with her to visit the nursing home and she would say to me, "I PRAY I never have to live this way. If I get to the point where I can't do anything for myself, I'd rather be with Jesus." She loves the Lord so deeply and she has been ready to go "home" ever since her stroke. I was laying in her hospital bed with her listening to a cd of hymns when she was in the hospital after the stroke and I asked her if she was scared at all and her response was, "Oh, no honey!" I know she'll be in such a glorious place, and I get so excited thinking about her seeing Jesus for the first time---like a bride seeing her groom on her wedding day. It's just really hard to think about saying goodbye here for now.

I'm almost 30 years old and this will be my first grandparent to pass away. Tra hasn't lost any of his yet either. That in itself is such a huge blessing. I guess the bottom line is that it is just hard to lose those who fill such a large space in your heart---even if you know they will be in heaven. And we'll all grieve the loss, but with hope of reuniting one day. It kills me how people say things like, "Well, at least you've had these extra two years with her," or "At least she got to see Hayley," or "At least you know she's in a better place." As if it is not okay to be sad about the thought of losing her. Jesus wept at the loss of Lazarus. It's OKAY to be sad and grieve over loved ones. I say all of this and she is still alive in a hospital bed. And only the Lord knows when He will come for her. I may have written all of this and she might still be here next Thanksgiving. We'll see.

I am so thankful for the time I've had with her and my granddad. I'm thankful for the example of a Christian marriage they have given me to model. I'm thankful for the example of loving their kids and grandkids so much it literally hurt us sometimes (with the big hugs). I'm thankful for so many mornings at their breakfast table listening as my granddad read their daily devotionals as my grandma handed them over, one after another. I'm thankful for walks in the alley, trips to the park, afternoons in the kitchen baking sugar cookies or making taffy, camping trips to the mountains, roasting marshmellows, trips to the little store around the corner in the summer for push up ice cream pops, Thanksgivings, Christmases, uncomfortable fold out sofas, sourdough pancakes, chocolate pies, Sunday roasts, trips to Baldwin's store, trips to the Savings and Loan to see Santa in the basement, and for the hundreds of other memories I will always carry with me of both of my grandparents.