Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Last visit with Grandma

Many of you already know that my grandma, Zelma Heath, passed away on October 23. There are many thoughts and themes to write about related to this subject, but I would like to start by recounting the last time that I saw her.

On Friday, October 19, I flew in to Indianapolis from Dallas so that I could visit Grandma. She had been battling stomach cancer for about 4 months at this point after the doctors determined that it was inoperable. After driving about an hour and a half from Indianapolis to Rensselaer, I arrived at the Rensselaer Care Center where she spent her final days. It was about 2 p.m. that afternoon when I met Dad and made my way back to her room. Upon entering, I saw a twinkle in her eyes, and we visited for about 20 minutes before she needed to rest some more. After she fell asleep, Dad told me that that was a long visit for Grandma these days. She was very weak from not being able to eat much, and Dad said that she slept about 90-95% of the time. We visited a couple of more times before leaving for the evening around 6 p.m.

The next morning, Dad and I arrived at 7:30 a.m., and Grandma visited with us for about an hour. Aunt Mary and Aunt Ruby came by around 9 a.m., and Grandma was awake for about another 30 minutes before we went to lunch. As we were leaving, Dad told her to push her button and the nurse would come if she needed something while we were gone. Grandma said, "You mean this one?" as she smiled and pointed to her bellybutton. It was good to see her in good spirits.

After lunch, I was able to visit for about another 30 minutes before I had to head back to Indianapolis for my return flight home. During our visits that day, we reminisced about different times that she and Grandpa and visited us in Texarkana and some of the things that we had done over the years. As I left, I thanked Grandma for everything that she had done over the years, and I told her goodbye. I had a feeling that it might be the last time that I saw her, and that turned out to be the case.

It was very difficult to see her so weak and sick. There is a part of me that would have liked to have had my last memory have been on May 3 when our family gathered in Arlington for her 94th birthday. However, as Dad, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Ruby have told me, Grandma perked up more during those two days than she had for quite some time. I could tell that it meant a lot to her that I came to see her, and it also meant a lot to the rest of the family that was there. I realized as I was driving back to the airport that the trip really wasn't about me. It was about what I was able to do for Grandma. I'm glad that I was able to give her something special during her final days. Now she is in peace in the joys of heaven where we will see her again. It may be difficult to read this and not be sad, but let us find joy in knowing that Grandma is now free of cancer and all other ailments as she sings with the choirs of heaven.

Until next time...


ASC said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. Our thoughts are with you as you mourn your Grandma's leaving this earth - but you are right, we rejoice that she is pain free and with Jesus!

Vicki Gupton said...

I'll print this post and keep it with my treasures. What a gift God has given our family in you. Love, Mom.

Anonymous said...

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Those last 2 verses are my confirmation verse but I think Pastor Ellis could have included the first 2 as well. Death is a sad time for us still here on earth but we rejoice that your grandmother is in the BEST place and at the foot of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your family is in our prayers!