Holding onto the hand I’ve known so well, the morphine drip clicks over, delivering another dose of the powerful drug through her tired veins. It is quiet and warm in the bedroom, save for the voices of her daughter and husband down the hall way and of the nurse filling out paper work, outside the bedroom door. We’re surrounded by photographs of all her family, gold and silver frames stocked with the people she loves, the people she’s spent her time here, taking care of. Memories of a life, most of us would envy. A life filled with adventure, travelling, loss, war, and overcoming old world tragedy. My Grandmother, who’s helped raise me from the moment I was born, a two pound little baby, and we’ve loved each other with all our hearts since.
She is wearing her pink flannel sleeping gown, the one with the back cut straight down the middle, so it doesn’t bunch up underneath her, the folds in the fabric send pain through her body, if she lay on top of them for too long. She can’t get up and fix it on her own anymore. She’s too exhausted. The cancer spreading through her body steals the small amount of energy she has left, and a part of me, with a heavy heart, looks forward to this coming to an end, for her. So she can finally see the face of Jesus. She’s has always asked me to tell her the story, of when I saw Him, when He came to me, and filled me with His spirit. She listens, over and over again, her eyes filled with loves light, and a vulnerably beautiful hope. A wondering of the man, the truth, our God she loves so much.
I want to curl up in bed with her, and close my eyes. Have another moment, where we can hold each other, like we used to when I was kid. But, I’m scared I might hurt her, or overwhelm her some way. So I don’t, just hold her hand as she comes in and out of morphine sleep. Run my fingers through her perfectly white hair, and watch her chest heave in and out with each breath. Listen to the machine humming beside her. Relieved she has something to soothe the pain, and bring her some kind of comfort.
I’m eased by the fact, she can be at home for this, instead of shoved into the cold confines of a hospital room. There is always something to be grateful for, and I’m just grateful for her, right now, in this moment. My Grandma has never left my side. Not once. Not when I was in jail, not when I lived on the street, and not when I was in rehab. Not when I drank all her liquor, and manipulated her for money. Not when I ignored her, and treated her like she didn’t matter. She’s always been there. Hoping for me, having faith in me, and helping me build the life I have now. Without her, I would not be where I am today. It sounds cliché, but it’s the only way I can put it, and it’s true.
I owe her more than I can express, because words fail me right now. I can only repay her, by living my life through honor and love, and I will do my best with every opportunity I am given, because she has done so for me. And so has God. My heart tells me, that this is a life well lived, to pay it forward at all costs in the name of Jesus, the name that defines love.
Don’t be scared Grandma, the face of Christ, will be the first face you’ll see. And through my tears, I will rejoice for you.