Thursday, May 15

Nan

We held hands across the van (not easy to do in a Ford E350), just the two of us on the way to the hospital.  The sun was high and the sky clear. Lunch was a late one combined with an early dinner at a little café in a greenhouse before heading back down the hill to the hospital where Sean's grandmother, Nan, has been for a little over a week.

So white and so frail with a heart that has had more than its share of heartache and is now weary and giving out from over use.  Raised in the backwoods of upstate NY by loving but impoverished parents, Nan tells stories of a childhood with cardboard in the bottom of shoes when the soles wore out and no running water until she was in high school. Nan raised nine children, cared for her aging parents until they passed and a handicapped sister while working in a shoe factory. 

The shared room is quiet.  Sean pulls a chair over and I perch on the tidy commode.  She laughs at my seat, asks what I'm dressed all fancy for, and tries to convince us to take home some pastries someone brought her.  She's one of the most generous and giving people I know and Sean teases her about trying not to send us home empty-handed even while in the hospital. Her heart rate is stabilizing, the nurse who passes by tells us.  It was 206 a week ago but is now hovering around 100 and even dips into the double digits while we're there.

Sean holds her hand and she reaches for him with the other translucent one, arms and hands purple from IV pokes but still as warm and strong, Sean later says, as the hands that brought him for walks as a little boy. This is the Grandma who cared for Sean much of his younger years and the bond between them is something to see.

My love for him swells as I watch him tenderly ask her questions about her care and hold her hands.  She mentions kind nurses and doctors, complains about the cold hospital food and no salt diet, then, with a sly smile and a laugh that turns into a cough, slides open her bedside drawer to reveal some covert packets of salt she had smuggled in.  They are hidden under a tissue box.

"Can I pray for you, Grandma?" he softly asks when it is time to head home and she quickly assents, asking for prayer for strength and peace for both herself and Grandpa.  Sean bows his head and I stroke her bruised arm as he prays and her eyes fill.  Sean offers and she asks us to sing "Amazing Grace". We feel the presence of God turn that room into Holy ground.

Tomorrow hospice will greet her as she heads home, so long as she has a good night tonight.  Grandma is one of those life treasures you hold with open hands to God, knowing that in due time, He'll take her home to Him.

1 comment:

Julian said...

So very beautiful. What a testimony, & what a legacy. Thoes moments that are fleeting, but forever pressed into our minds , and seared upon our hearts. Moments of knowing. Holy moments. I am praying for Nan, for grandpa, and for you and yours.
Christina