sweet home alabama…
I know – I’ve been totally MIA, huh?! I know that I have very few readers here and that you all know what’s been going on with my grandmother. I’ve been taking care of school and getting myself as far ahead as I possibly could so that I could make a trip possible. I had to do the same for the kiddos and their schoolwork so they would be able to join me. I was going to head down to Alabama alone – I wasn’t sure how to handle this situation with the kids. They’re really close to Mamaw – but I’ve struggled with whether I wanted to expose them to death now. Josh is 12 and Piper is 7. Cameron is only 4. He’s pretty oblivious. They all love and truly adore Mamaw – who is their great grandmother. Josh and Piper understand that she is very sick and for reasons we can’t understand now, we will only have her with us for a little while longer. Their tears are heartbreaking – their tears are what I wanted so desperately to avoid. I had to make a huge decision and I chose to be honest with them. I don’t know how they’d handle it if I chose not to tell them and they weren’t given the option to spend a little more time with her. I just don’t think they could’ve handled being blissfully unaware and ‘never seeing her again’. As much as I hated to expose them to this kind of ‘reality’ now… it was necessary. It’s hard to know that there are just some things you can’t protect them from forever.
So – Tuesday evening, we packed up the car… 3 small suitcases, Nintendo DSi’s, PSPs, blankets, pillows, and Dutchess (our 123lb white German Shepherd)…. and headed to Alabama. We stopped twice to sleep and swim – once in Kansas and once in Missouri.. and finally made it to ‘Bama Thursday night at around 10pm. It may have been the longest drive ever, and I’ve made that trip at least 25 times. I’m not sure if it was the circumstances surrounding the trip or if it’s the smaller car… maybe the kids being older? Probably a combination of all three, I don’t know… I’m just thankful it’s over and we’re here!
I went to visit my Mamaw today. I only took Piper with me since I wasn’t sure how much ‘excitement’ she could really handle. All three kiddos may have been a little much. When we got there, she was back in her bedroom with my Aunt and she looked so different from just six weeks ago. She is so tiny. I hugged her and she felt so little in my arms. I can’t get over it. We helped her to her recliner in the Livingroom and put her feet up. She adjusted the nasal cannula for her oxygen and caught her breath. Piper just stared. Mamaw told her to please not be afraid of her – “Mamaw’s just lost some weight”, she told her. Piper just hugged her and laid her head on her shoulder for a minute and then turned back to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. She was trying to keep from crying in front of Mamaw like I’d asked her to before we went into the house. She did well. I sat on the floor in front of Mamaw’s chair and talked to her about how she was feeling and what the hospice nurse had said about the breathing treatments she was using and she told me that she was tired of people shoving pills down her throat all the time. “They just won’t leave me alone” she said. I told her I’d get her a stick to poke them with and we both kinda chuckled. We mostly talked about the kids and school and the weather and other normal stuff. It was nice. I laid my head over on her leg at one point and just sat there like I did when I was little. Her leg felt different – it felt like it really couldn’t support the weight of my head and to tell you the truth, I was probably supporting my head almost fully with my neck because I was afraid to put any weight on her. She laid her hand on my face and we were just quiet. A couple of tears rolled down my face, but I didn’t let her see them… I just stayed still. I remember a thousand times I laid my head over in her lap and fell asleep while she rubbed my back or played with my hair. A thousand times she’s always been there for me with advice and a kind word… sometimes not what I wanted to hear, but always what i needed to be told. She’s never been one to hold her tongue… I guess that’s where I get it from. So many times I’ve felt like I didn’t have a prayer in the world – I knew she was the one praying for me. I’ve always been able to count on her and laying there today with those tears streaming down my face in the silence, I was thankful. I can honestly say that one of the greatest things God has ever blessed me with is my Mamaw. She has been my rock and without her, I don’t know who I’d be today. I don’t want to lose her – I’m not really ready to let her go, but seeing the peace she has with it gives me peace. I’m happy for her. She’s looking forward to heaven and all its glory and the embrace from my Dad, her son, that she’s been missing for almost 26 years now. I love her so much – I do… and I pray that someday I can be half the woman she is and be loved even a fraction as much as she’s loved. I pray that God will draw her near to Him and hold her there, keep my Papaw strong, and continue to keep her from pain and fear. I’m so thankful to have been blessed with thirty years of beautiful memories with such a beautiful person as my Grandmother. I’ll continue to cherish every moment I have with her until God calls her home.
I’ll keep updating when I can. Tomorrow, I plan to take the boys over to see her. Please keep praying and sending good thoughts her way.
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Oh Mandy – I wish I knew what to say. Your grandmother is such a great woman. I am glad shes not in pain. Thats something right?
Tell her Im thinking of her.