Love From the Other Side

Today is my Grandma’s 86th birthday.

She’s lived a beautiful life, raised three children, including my Mom, and buried a fourth at a young age. She’s loved us grandkids in word and deed, showing us through her sweet hugs and kisses, her laughter and amazement at simple, beautiful things. “I swanee,” she always says. I think I might start saying it, too, in her remembrance. Her life of faith and hard work has blessed generations.

A month ago, her declining health reached the point where she needs dialysis to pull off the fluid from congestive heart failure and weakened kidneys. My Mom, Aunt Judy and Uncle Bill have taken turns staying with her and Grandpa since that time. Her church family has brought meals and a stream of kind visitors.

She chose to stop dialysis ten days ago due to constant weakness and pain.

Now she waits.

She waits for the comfort and peace that will come when God takes her home. Until then, we stand vigil, wanting to be with her, to touch her, to hold her, just like I did when my Omama rejected dialysis sixteen years ago. Only this time, I’m in a different stage of life and can’t drop everything to travel cross country and be with her until her time comes.

We’ve exchanged videos and called, which brings me some comfort. She knows I love her and want to be there. Each day, memories flood back to me—her spaghetti and pickles, her Christmas tree with hand-knit ornaments in the room that used to be a deck, her laughter when my two-year old danced on her table, her kindness, always her kindness.

I know, soon, I will get that call: it’s time to come. I hope I can see her again and kiss her goodbye like I did my stepfather almost a year ago.

But if not…

If not, I’ll hold fast to the love and the faith she passed down to me. I’ll cling to the hope that someday, I’ll see Grandma and my many loved ones on the other side.

Here I am, middle-aged, with three grandparents still living, at least for a few more days. What a unique blessing. This is what I’m most grateful for this Season of Thanks—the chance to know and love my Grandma & Grandpa and my Omama & Opapa.