Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grandma = Love

This morning I read my email, catching up from the last couple of days. (It's Girl Scout Cookie season. What else can I say?) I anticipated the normal pile of junk, the notifications about cookie booths, reminders of deadlines, and cookie orders. What caught and held my attention was the message from my aunt that my grandma is not doing so well. She's been fatigued for the last month.

Now, if you don't know my grandma, hearing that an 87 year old woman is tired is not surprising. If you know my grandma, you know she never admits to not feeling well.

Grandma in the 1980's, before her car accident. Standing tall and proud.

Grandma believes in the power of positive thinking. Therefore anytime she doesn't feel good, she thinks about how great it will feel when she's done what needs doing, and keeps moving. She's always kept moving.

She's got macular degeneration, which is a long way of saying she's going blind. Ok, to be honest, she really is pretty much blind at this point. But that doesn't stop her from baking bread for her neighbors, visiting grandkids, or friends down the street, who she happily delivers it to on foot because, "fresh air is good for the soul."

Being blind doesn't stop her from going, going, going. She's hunched over from a bad car accident, but she doesn't let her back and rib pain stop her, either. She just goes and does what needs doing to try to bring a little light and love into someone's life.

Grandma after the car accident. Still full of life and active :)

My grandmother is a living exemplar of the verse:

Have I done any good in the world, today? 
Have I helped anyone in need? 
Have I cheered up the sad? 
Or made someone feel glad? 
If not, I have failed indeed.

She's been my example of stubborn refusal to give up when times are hard, of loving people even when they're not at their best, and of helping and serving others for the simple reason that they're people. My grandma is awesome.

So when I read the email from my aunt that said, "Grandma's been complaining of fatigue. And you know what it means when she actually admits to not feeling well," I felt a little twinge in the pit of my stomach and my heart rate sped up.

The next line said, "She's been diagnosed with a bladder infection, pneumonia, and an enlarged heart." So the first thing that clicked was the enlarged heart. And I have to admit, my first reaction was, "Well, duh. Of course her heart is bigger than normal. That's how she lives her life, why wouldn't her heart be bigger than everyone else's?"

Except that it's *not* normal. And after I re-read the line a few times, I realized my grandma's sick. And was sick for a month before admitting she was sick. And after they treat her infections, then they can try to figure out what to do for her heart.

You guys, my grandma's heart is having problems. :( I don't even have words.

This is where you tell me everything will be fine and that grandparents will live forever.

Edit: Called my grandma after typing this up. (So I could be calm, people, it's no good calling grandma in a panic.) And she sure sounds like herself! Well... except for the admitting she doesn't feel good, and being frustrated at being tired and blind. But aside from that we had a good visit. I sure love her! She sounded winded after our conversation, so I'm worried about her, but she's not on her deathbed, so that's good. 

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