finding smiles

One week ago today I boarded a plane bound for Houston, Texas.  I arrived, rented a car, and drove to Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I thought I knew the purpose of my trip.  My grandmother (MawMaw) was sick and at a point where she could no longer care for herself or her husband.  I thought I was coming to make her see that she only had two options.  I was either going to pack her up to come live with me or she would have to go to an assisted living facility.  This woman has been my rock since the day I was born.  She doesn’t know how to love little.  I don’t want this post to turn into her obituary, but I want all of you to know that about her.  Her love and grace carry about as many conditions as the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

When I lost my Mom in 2006, my grandmother lost her only child.  Five months later she married an 86 year old man that had once been her neighbor and moved from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles (a 2 1/2 hour drive with good weather and no traffic).  The whole relationship seemed cute and romantic as long as nobody thought about who was going to take care of them when they could no longer take care of themselves.  Last Sunday, after two 911 calls in 24 hours, it was blatantly apparent that they had arrived at that point.  For several years, when questioned about various ailments she would say that she didn’t feel any worse than she should at 80 and that she wasn’t going to a doctor because doctors would just find something wrong with her.  After being admitted to the hospital last week, we discovered just how wise that declaration was….

After three days of pokes, prods, and scans, we now know that she is in the last stage of renal failure.  She has an aortic aneurysm.  Her heart is enlarged.  She has pneumonia (that IV antibiotics have not been able to clear).  Her thyroid has doubled the size of her neck and is filled with tumors.  She has gall-stones.  Oh… and she’s been a diabetic for several years.  I’m sure there is something I’ve forgotten, but I’ve honestly had a hard time keeping track of and processing each illness as it’s discovered.

In light of the fact that I’ve had about twelve hours of sleep in the last seven days, I keep finding joy (or at least humor) in the simplest of moments.  That is the purpose of this post.  I want to document and share the moments of the past week that have put a smile on my face.

~en-route to a ct scan, an aid asked MawMaw if she was cold.  Her reply…”I’m a Hot Mama!” (I TOTALLY agree :))

~Talking to Sofija last week I told her that I would be home on Sunday (I’ve had to change my travel plans).  Her reply, “I don’t like Sunday.  How about tomorrow?” It’s nice to be missed.

~Weak and in need of a shower, my sweet Christian grandmother said to me, “I’ve wiped your ass many of times.  It’s not gonna hurt you to clean mine today.” I was actually honored to make her feel clean and comfortable.

~MawMaw’s more than slightly confused husband (Jack) walked out of the hospital (without communicating with anyone that he was going to do so) and drove himself home one night.  The ten minute drive took him more than forty-five minutes.  When I finally reached him by phone, he says, “Is Pollyanna (MawMaw’s only blood relative in Lake Charles) still at the hospital?” Me…”Yes.”  Jack…”Tell her to be careful driving home.  If you go to far on Barton you run out of road.  But there’s enough room in the woods there to eventually turn your car around and get back out.”

~After being told that the levels of toxins in her bloodstream would have put any other person in a coma, I said to MawMaw, “Your mind is amazing!  The doctors said you should be in a coma, but you are so alert.”  She shrugged her shoulders, smiled, and said, “I have the mind the Christ.” Amen! Amen! Amen! 1 Corinthians 2:16…..”But we have the mind of Christ.”

~After telling me about his great day at school and how excited he is to have no homework on a Monday, Seth asks, “So, how’s it going with you and MawMaw?”  I replied, “My time with her has been amazing, but it’s also been sad.  I love the talks we’ve had and that I get to be with her, but it’s sad to see her looking very uncomfortable.  I just don’t want her to suffer.”  His response, “Don’t be sad.  God’s with her.  If she dies, It’s God’s will to take her home.  And if she doesn’t.  Well, It’ll be a miracle.”  Once again…. the “Make Mama Smile” award goes toooo……. Seffaroni!

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