Life Living

My Pappow is at the end of his life.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 or 12 years ago. 

I realize that life is full of many obstacles; but I also realize that life is full of moments, of joys, of memories.

My dad picked Kayla and me up Saturday and took us to Jackson to give us the opportunity to see Pappow, basically before he passed away.  I had yearned for this opportunity, dad made it possible.  For that I am thankful.

Our visit with Pappow was tough.

Our original plans for our return trip home was to drop Mammow off at the hospital this morning, then dad was going to take me to put flowers out at my Granny and Pappow’s grave.  I hadn’t been able to get there in three years; this is something that is very near and dear to my heart.  But, this morning, when I woke up, I had this overwhelming sense that I needed to spend time with the living, and not with what has already passed. 

This morning, I had the joy, the privilege, and honor of cleaning my Pappow’s mouth, cleaning his eyes, giving him a drink and moisturizing his badly chapped arms. While I could never repay my grandfather for all he has done for me, and while he has no clue what little effort was done this morning to make him more comfortable, it was just very humbling. 

Since I found out I would be going to Jackson, I had been praying for this visit.  When I lived in a children’s home during my high school years, I was exposed to Alzheimer’s Disease.  One of the homes on our campus was for Alzheimer’s patients.  I knew what to expect, but I wasn’t sure how my heart would hold up. 

As I have stated before, I am a visual learner.  While typing this I was reminded of Jesus washing feet.  Jesus didn’t wash feet to be glorified.  Hhhhmmm, I wonder if the nurses and nurses aids are doing what they are doing to be glorified.  I would say definitely not.  I have never thought of what nurses have to encounter during a given day, how many bum’s (by that I mean back-side) they have to clean, vomit they clean up, sheets they have to dry and soiled linens they come in contact.  I have a new appreciation for the people that are caring, not only for my Pappow, but for anybody that is not able to care for themselves.  If you are a nurse, and you are reading this, I thank you for your time, for your dedication, for all you endure during a given shift.  Bless You.

Another thing I got to thinking about is how plainly I knew the Lord was telling me to “spend time with the living.”  What does that mean?  For me, as Timon and Pumbah would put it, “Put your past behind you.”  I caught myself just this afternoon fretting over the past all the “wrongs I did towards my Mammow and Pappow.”  As much as I wish I could make it up to them, I know I can’t.  The fact is, I can’t change anything about it, nor would I want to. 

There is a scripture, I think in Luke 7, that says, “She loves much as she was forgiven much.”  While I know this scripture is referring to Christ’s love, grace, mercy and forgiving of sins (which were many), it spoke to my heart today about my grandparents.  I have hurt them much, they have forgiven much, I love them much. 

While just thinking about the passing of my Pappow brings me much pain, I know the special place I had in his heart, I know he loved me much.  I will cherish deeply the precious, precious smiles we were granted on our short visit.  My heart years to spend each day with him, to clean him, to help relieve my Mammow so she can rest.  While I know my immediate family is my first priority, and I know my son needs me now more than ever with EEG’s and MRI’s, I am feeling torn between the two.

I don’t know if this makes any since at all.  I’ve kind of rambled, trying to not let the emotions take control of the keyboard, so to speak, but just needed to shed a few tears, be thankful, and love.

We celebrated my Kaitlyn’s birthday Friday (she turned 4 Saturday).  I find myself treasuring my moments more, maybe that’s an age thing, maybe it’s a maturing thing, maybe I’m just learning about life living….

“Father in life’s moments, please help me to seize, capture every moment, to use my time wisely, to treasure the tiny moments.  Lord I pray for my Mammow.  I pray for the ability to sleep, to rest.  I pray that she is strengthened, empowered and encouraged by some “walking angel” you put in her path today.   I pray for the nurses that come in contact with my Pappow today; I pray they will see him as if they were his own grandfather lying there, with love and gentleness.  I pray for my sister and her husband who are also nurses.  Lord, I pray for my dad, for my Uncle Steve, for my cousins, for my brother and sister…. I ask you to use me to comfort and love, help me be strong.  I love you Jesus.  I am thankful today, very thankful for all you do for me.  I love you Jesus.  Amen.”

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