Monday, October 25, 2010

The Gift

We hurried to the hospital tonight after dinner because we were told Aaron's grandma had slipped into a coma and would probably not make it through the night. She's been in the hospital for a couple days now. When she first went in, we were expecting her to stay a few days and then move into an assisted living home in our town.

But once at the hospital, she went downhill more rapidly than anyone expected.

Driving to see her tonight had a surreal quality to it. I hadn't been to visit because I wasn't sure if having all the kids around would be helpful. I thought I'd wait for her to stabilize and then go see her. As we drove to the hospital, though, it seemed I wouldn't get the chance to even say goodbye.

But when we walked into her room, Aaron spoke to her and she responded.  Her eyes were shut and her lips moved. The noise she made was a restless murmuring, but we were sure she knew we were there. At one point she opened her eyes. Aaron and I were standing right over her and she actually smiled at us.

A few minutes later, Aaron's parents and sister arrived. They'd taken a short break to eat dinner. When we told them about the smile, my father-in-law was shocked. He was sure she'd slipped out of consciousness for good.

But sure enough, as the evening progressed, she had moments of lucidity. As we were leaving, I held my two-year-old Sophie up to give Grandma a kiss. Grandma opened her eyes when she felt the kiss on her forehead and breathed, "Thank you."

I don't know what will happen. Grandma Helen is one tough lady. She may yet surprise us by bouncing back. But I'm thankful for tonight in any case, that we had the chance to gather around her and let her know how much she means to us.

Tonight -- that smile, that kiss, that thank you -- was a gift.

Now go and remind someone you love how much you love them. Because that's always a lesson imminent death teaches us: not to cling to today, but to make the most of it.

12 comments:

  1. Words of wisdom, Amy.
    It was lovely to have that special time with her, whatever happens with her health.

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  2. wow. what a precious moment... and memory. she must have had a long good life... that may yet continue! keeping you all in my thoughts. God bless!

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  3. That's a really beautiful story Amy.

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  4. Amy, God is good, isn't He? Loved your post. Reminded me of when my g-ma was in the hospital her last time. I called to say "Good-bye". She was very cognitive and heard everything. My aunt was there and was amazed because she had NOT been that way in a few days. Praying for you and your family during this time, Amy!
    Blessings!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. My prayers are with your grandmother and your family.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this with us, Amy. That is a special moment, one that you'll hang on to long after she's gone.

    Our prayers are with your family.

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  7. Oh my God. Totally tearing up over here! Thanks so much for sharing such a special family moment. I am sending blessings to all of you. I can only imagine how sweet a 2-year-old's kiss would be to a sick grandmother. That just touches my heart. Hope all of you stay strong and connected during this time.

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  8. I'm so sorry. I'll be praying for you.

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  9. What a wonderful moment to remember...

    You and your family are in my prayers...

    (((hug)))

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  10. what a gift to read this sharing indeed.

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  11. Amy- thanks so much for sharing this. I read in "Boys Write for Boys Read," a collection of stories by boys' writers and illustrators, that people that writers love never die. Reading this post, I realized how true that is. God bless you and your family. I followed your link here from your next post...which was just as funny as this one was touching. Life is unexpected that way.

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