Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finding my sunny place

It helps a soul to heal through pain if you can talk about it.  So much so lately as I reflect upon a personal ache in my heart for my grandma as I see the changes evident from a desire to give up.  We spent the earlier part of spring break with a visit to see her, and now that she's about 4 hours closer, I hope it won't be the last.  You may have seen me blog about her before...Grandma with the Red Lips, as she's known now.  My daughter distinguishes her that way, since she has a wonderful multitude of grandmas to keep straight.

At just shy of her 89th birthday, she is now dealing more with a failing heart, and unfortunately, a feeling of the hourglass emptying.  It saddens me so to see her have no desire to get out of bed; she's definitely capable, just won't.  And so, she peers out the window of her room to any activity that captures her keen eyes.  Her mind is still pretty sharp, but her soul is slowly resting away.  There will be no more letters, written in her beautiful longhand to me about the steady family she grew so plentifully; no words of the flowers that bloom by her hand; no more conversations over hand stitching an heirloom embroidery piece together.

Thankfully, what is still there are lots of the wonderful stories she enjoys sharing about specific incidents with each of us from the past.  Some will stay with me forever.  Like the very first visit that my husband made over dinner at her house, nearly 30 years ago.  Fried chicken overflowed the platter, and my burly sweety placed a mere wing on his plate.  Grandma, the ever gracious host, turned the platter around and offered a more meaty selection to which Matt reached again for another wing.  She had thought he was afraid to take too much, when in fact, the wing is his absolute favorite piece.  And, of course, after devouring the wings, he did enjoy visiting that platter again and again.  We laughed again this week about that and many other simple stories that brought us together.  Her incredible meals are always a fun topic.

This visit also brought together my Dad and I in a way that we haven't been.  As he has taken the full responsibility of caring for Grandma, he visits her daily at her new assisted living home and tends to her every need.  All this along with that of his wife who is continually battling bone cancer and his own heart problems.  It's a daunting job, but one that he does with as much love and compassion as I've ever witnessed.  It is a side that, I guess I knew was there, but have never really been 'grown up' enough to understand.

And so I ask you to think today about those that you love and remember a memory of something that will make you smile.  The memories are there for all of that if you dig deep, and there is always one to reflect on that can lighten your load, at least for a moment.


  1. Thank you for brought back so many memories for me. I am happy that you can still have good visits with you Grandma. Isn't it amazing the way growing older can open our eyes. Sending hugs your way,

  2. Good Morning, Ilene,
    Wow, as I read this today, I could relate to each and every word. As you know my mom is 91..and so much of this is true about her too, so I can relate to the sadness that you are feeling. You are lucky to have so many good memories of her in your life.

    Easter Blessing to you and your family. Have a wonderful day together.

    Take care, ~Natalie

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Natalie. It's important to keep those memories close. Hope you have a Happy Easter, my friend!


  3. Oh Ilene, your post has brought tears to my eyes. Treasure your moments with your Grandma and connect with your Dad through her while you have the opportunity. It always seems that it is adversity that allows us to see the true heart of a person and it sounds as if your Dad has a heart as big as the seas. Thank you for the reminder to love and cherish those closest to us as we never know when we will no longer be able to hold them close and say 'I love you'. Wishing you and yours much love and comfort, Deb

    1. Thank you Deb, your comments mean the world to me. Everyone it seems has someone special like this in their life. This experience has opened my eyes again with my Dad, so it feels good to know that some things are never too late to change...Hugs to you, my friend! Ilene

  4. I am so sorry your grandma is failing... it is a sad fact of life. You are lucky to have so much love and memories between you.