Grandma just wasn’t the same after she awoke from her coma. I had resolved to accept that hard fact. The damage was permanent. Her wits were gone. The stroke she suffered after Grandpa’s death had claimed her soul. Snapping out of a coma was one thing. Regaining her memory was another. Her mind had checked out. I had to get used it. She was gone, gone, gone. It was only a matter of time before she’d be at heaven’s gate.
My visits became less frequent. What was the point? She no longer recognized me. On a good day, she’d call me by my brother’s name. Other times she’d call me by the name of my father or mother or sister. As for my name, she had forgotten it entirely. Maybe she called someone else by it.
Time lapsed. Years flew. All the while, Grandma hung in there. Any progress she making was news to me. I had my own life to live. There was work to do and bills to pay. Somewhere in all that business, I met someone. We got married. A new journey began.
There Is Always Hope
I don’t recall how long it was before I took Christy to see Grandma. I’m pretty sure, though, I prepared her for what to expect. Come to find out, I was the one unprepared. Grandma was fine. She was alert and responsive. And her memory was back! She knew who I was and called me by name. Yes, it was the sweet grandma I knew from childhood – all bubbles and full of love.
Before long, Grandma was out of the nursing facility and caring for herself with minimal assistance. Wow! She had come so far in such short time. And visiting her was a delight. She had lots of memories and was eager to share them.
I learned that memories aren’t all the elderly live for. They too have dreams. When Christy became pregnant with our first child, Grandma was as excited as we were. She longed for the day she could hold the child in her own arms. Her wish eventually came true. That was the last time we saw Grandma before she passed away. Shortly before passing she wrote a poem about her great-granddaughter. She had written many poems in her lifetime. This one was special. It was also her last.
Her little head has angel hair,
Blue violets for her eyes,
Peach blossoms for her cheeks, you see
Holds smiles of heaven skies.
A tiny rosebud for her mouth,
Pure lilies for her hands,
And bluebells for the little toes,
That danced into the land.
God sent her with His angels,
To a home of faith and love,
They placed her in a basket,
With blessings from above,
(Kathryn Keating Bell, 1984)
One major great regret I have in life is giving up on Grandma after her mind slipped. It was easier that way. I suppose that’s why many of us have this tendency. It’s convenient. When things take a turn for the worse, just throw in the towel. We give up on the aged, the addicted, the obnoxious and the rebellious. We pin labels on them, as if hope were reserved for an elite few who aren’t so hungry for it.
This is what makes Jesus so different from us. He doesn’t give up on hope. Nor does he ever give up on those we deem hopeless. He goes the distance for drunks and punks, streetwalkers and smooth-talkers, kooks and crooks. His arms open wide for society’s rejects. He’ll accept anybody. He promises rest to the weary. And whosever will rest in Him will wake up a new person. Grandma taught me that.
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660