Dixie’s granny—our children’s “Bestamore”—had a major stroke last night. There is bleeding in her brain and the doctors have told the family that she has only a few days to live. Dixie was up until 3a.m. last night, helping her mom, sitting with her granny in the hospital. Granny had been unconscious for most of the night, but this afternoon she opened her eyes and was communicating. Dixie took Madeline to the hospital with her in the morning and I brought Olivia and Luke after church. So we’ve had a chance to talk to her—say good bye—perhaps for the last time.
I’m not sure how to pray for this sort of thing. Granny is 86 years old and has been unhealthy for some time. She had several minor strokes in the last couple of months. So while this was not expected—especially since Grampa, who’s 91, was in the hospital for a couple of days last week—it isn’t entirely unexpected either. Like Grampa told Dixie last night, “I guess we have to prepare for these things.”
But how do we pray in these circumstances? What do we pray for? When Dixie first heard about the stroke, before the doctors had made a diagnosis, I sat with the kids and told them that Granny was sick and that we should pray. Luke didn’t get it; Olivia was naturally oblivious; but Madeline had some questions, which I tried to answer. We prayed together. I don’t remember if we prayed for healing or not—probably did—but somehow that doesn’t seem honest, or even realistic, but maybe I don’t have enough faith. I also asked that we have Granny with us just a little while longer. It seems that part of the prayer has been answered.
But you readers can pray for Dixie’s Granny and Grampa, and the rest of the family. I can’t imagine what’s going through Grampa’s mind right now. Their 67th wedding anniversary is tomorrow; even at 86 and 91, how do you even begin to say goodbye after that many years together?
Death is such a strange thing. One minute you’re having supper with the love of your life. The next minute you’re on your death bed. Life is fragile and short—even after 86 years or 91 years or 110 years, when a person gets to the end it really feels like it wasn’t all that long. At least, that’s how it feels for us who are watching and caring. Maybe you get to a point where you are ready to go. I don’t know.
Seeing Olivia, my15 month old daughter, hobble around the house this morning seemed so out of place, such a contrast. Granny’s life well lived, care worn; Olivia just starting out. But it has me thinking, too, that just because Olivia—or any of the kids, or Dixie, or me—is young and healthy, doesn’t mean that I’ll have them forever. Any one of us could go at any time, really, but once again, how do you prepare for that, without getting into that cliche “carpe diem”, “gather ye rosebuds” stuff?
Stuff to think about.
It’ll probably be a long week. Pray for us, for everyone.