Friday, November 30, 2012

My Parents

November 29th

Thankfulness Day 29
A family photo circa 1998 or 1999.  I think this is probably "take 15" of the photo, so we aren't smiling that big! :)
(l-r: Michael, Dad, Grandpa, Mom, Grandma, Timmy, Jenni, Me)
Today my grandma passed away.  I got the call first thing in the morning, so Troy and I headed out with the kids on a sad, cloudy, cold morning to try and cheer my parents up.  My dad is the only child, so there are no brother or sisters to help out during this difficult time.  My sister helped for years, which I am sure my dad is very thankful for.  In her last days, my grandma was taken care of by my parents  and my dad's cousin, Jody.  I remember the last time I saw my grandma comatose in her hospital bed in the middle of the living room, my mom was constantly by her side in efforts to keep her comfortable in her last hours.  She would take her temperature (she would run a fever often in the last few days), then run to the kitchen, get a fresh tub of cool water and washcloth  and gently dab the washcloth on my grandma's face, arms, and legs, while saying, "There you go, Sweetie."  Then, when she was finished, she would gently brush back my grandma's hair, kiss her forehead, and whisper, "I love you, Teddy."

My parents moved into my grandma's house when my sister moved out to Washington.  My sister had diligently taken care of my grandma for a while, and so it was just natural for my parents to take over full time, as my grandma was progressing in her Alzheimer's.  My dad took her to many doctor's appointments and took over her finances.  He has been her main "handy-man" since my grandpa's death seven years ago, taking care of things my grandpa would have.  Now everything seems to rest on my parent's shoulders.  My grandma's house---from what to do with all her belongings to actually figuring out what to do with her home.  Her finances---from her Social Security checks being stopped to her newspaper being cancelled.  All while in the process of grieving.  My dad said last night that it will be weird.  He has no family left (of course he has us, but we know what he meant) and the house will be empty.   It is weird.  I stood in the empty house last night as everyone went outside when we were leaving.  We will no longer get to hear the sound of the Angel game on the TV.  No soft pitter-patter of my grandma using her walker to get around the house.  I won't hear my grandma coming into the kitchen asking for cookies.  Or those sounds from long ago that I remember...the dripping of the coffee pot every morning, the timer for dinner every evening, the creaking of my grandparent's Lazy-Boys as they put the footrests up, or the shushing if we ran through the house too loud.  As I stood in the empty house, the quiet grew loud.  With a heavy sigh and a heavy heart, I joined the others outside.

Earlier in the evening, my mom asked me to help her get together my grandma's clothes for her burial.  It was hard for both of us.  We wept in my grandma's walk-in closet as we reminisced over her favorite shirts...all the same, just in different colors, and the dress my grandma looked so pretty in that she wore to Michael's wedding.  I was glad I was able to help my mom with that.

Even though this was and is an extremely hard thing to go through, I have been blessed to see how my parents cared for my grandma in her last days, last hours, and even after her passing.  I am thankful for my parents and the diligence, patience, love, and endurance Christ gave them in such a difficult time.  His grace is truly sufficient.

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