A Day With Grandpa

Yesterday was a really hard day. The boys and I went to see Grandpa for the first time since his diagnosis, and the first time the boys had seen him since he first got sick.

I have been talking to the boys about Grandpa John being sick. It’s hard to find the words to explain what is going on to them. I told them that he was sick. I told them he probably wouldn’t be getting better. I told them he wouldn’t be the same as he was the last time that they saw him. That he had a funny haircut and a bed in his living room. That he was in a wheel chair instead of his normal kitchen table chair. I told them that he wouldn’t be able to take them on a tractor ride or a walk to look for turtles. I told them they would have to give him soft hugs instead of the big, hard hugs that Connor loves to give that will knock a person down.

I asked if they had any questions. Connor told me that he had a question about animals. So I asked if they had any questions about Grandpa John. They had important questions like, “Why doesn’t Grandma fix Grandpa John’s funny haircut?” We covered what was going on the best that I could in one sitting. Connor told me that he need to just sit next to Grandpa John while he was sick.

We got to Grandpa’s just as the Hospice nurse was getting there. The boys became instantly shy, but we still got to see grandpa. And he behaved like he always did and asked Connor if he could run over Connor’s foot with his wheelchair to see if it would hurt.

We sent the boys out to play while the nurse was there, but eventually we did get to visit. I sat at the table with Grandpa. It was good. It was hard. It’s times like these that you just want to fix everything but there is no way to fix it. We laughed. These times are hard, but we aren’t just going to sit around and cry the whole time. Even though these aren’t the memories we wanted to be making, but we are going to make the best memories we can in the time we have.

Eventually Grandpa had to lie down and take a nap. And as he napped in the hospital bed in the living room, Connor sat quietly in the recliner next to him, reading his book and keeping watch. Grandpa woke to adjust and told us that he couldn’t find the light. We asked what light he was looking for and he replied, “The light of glory.” Oh, Grandpa, don’t worry. You’ll find it when it’s time.

Before we left, we all gathered around the bed, with Connor holding one of Grandpa’s hands and Cameron hold the other, and prayed together. We prayed for healing because our God is a God of miracles. Grandpa asked the boys if they know Jesus. (They do.) The most important thing to him right now is knowing that all of his family knows and loves Jesus. And then Grandpa gave both of the boys a dollar.

It was hard. It was good. It was emotional.

Once we were on the road, I asked the boys if they had any questions after seeing Grandpa John. They wanted to know why he gave them a dollar, and I told them it was because Grandpa John loves them. The only other question came from Cameron. He wanted to know why Grandpa John wanted to hold his hand to pray. “That’s not how you pray.” Then Cameron folded his hands and showed me that with folded hands is the right way to pray. I had to explain that there is no right way to pray and that sometimes people like to hold hands to pray.

Both boys put their dollars in safe places. Cameron slept with his by the bed with his hearing aids “because it’s a special dollar from Grandpa John.” They may not understand everything that is going on, but they do understand that something is different. That this time is different. And special. They are making memories, too.

It’s hard and we are all just taking it one day at a time. I’m trying so hard to find that fine line between absolutely believing that God could heal Grandpa and understanding that He probably won’t.

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