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Gram

January 1, 2008

“…A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (Ecc. 3:4).

Two days ago Hugh and I asked my grandmother to consider moving in with us – into a new house that would have room for all of us.

Yesterday she told us she would not be moving anywhere.

There you go.

And so today I am left to wrestle with the responsibility of my grandmother and the reality of how life looks – now that she will no longer drive and she has use of only one eye.

I hate this. I hate this.

When I was five, I flew by myself to California for a whole week to see her. Gram took me to great restaurants and fantastic shopping. We ordered sushi and strawberry lemonade in between trips to the bookstore and the specialty clothing boutiques that line the streets of Palm Springs. Every morning she would cook me a huge breakfast while I watched cartoons in her elegant dining room.

That visit was the first of many, all alike. A couple of times a year I would fly out and spend time with Gram. I would call her every week on the phone to check in.

Gram has always been there for me. When my mother married a seriously unhealthy man, Gram paid for me to go to an exclusive boarding school. When I needed money for college, Gram wrote the check. When I had outgrown all my clothes and my family couldn’t afford new ones, Gram flew me down for a weekend of shopping. As I would get on the plane, she would clutch my hand and tell me that I could come and live with her. That I could call her anytime.

A few years ago, Gram had some serious health issues and my husband I moved her from California to be next door to us. It has been a great six years. Having my sweet little red-haired Grandmother cook breakfast for my own children is a gift.

But now she is older, and a few weeks ago I woke up to the reality that she needs more help. That driving needs to be a thing of the past. That we need to step up our involvement in her bills and household maintenance.

I feel overwhelmed and inadequate for this task. I have three small children, my own house to manage, a marriage that needs some heavy focus right now.

I also feel really, really sad. I want to ignore the signs Gram is older, and I don’t want to think about the day that I won’t have her with me. I want to rewind time and walk hand in hand around Palm Springs with her while she tells me about growing up in a convent and about singing for the troops in New York Harbor before they shipped out during WWII.

And I’ve brought all of these emotions to God. Dumped all of them at His feet. Because He loves Gram and He can tell me what to do right now. Over the last few days, I’ve started to hear from Him about a plan. About how life needs to look now as I care for her and what I need to do going forward.

As I care for her more, I want to lay down this sadness. I want to pick up joy for each day that I still have her with me. I want to hold her hand in the grocery store and ask her to tell me another story. I want to savor, really savor, the days I have with the woman who has given me so much.

Each day with her is a gift. No more crying, I think. There will be another time for that. But today I still have her to hug and listen to. I still have more memories to make.

God, thank you for giving me my precious Grandmother. Please give me wisdom to know how to take care of her. Please keep her from pain and fill her with your joy. I love, love, love you. Amen.

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