When difficult times arise, the core essence of who we are comes out. With my family, it all came down to love. It glimmered around us like our own private rainbow. For as the tulips began to bloom in the spring, my grandma started to fade. Her body attacked by bacteria on her pacemaker and seeped into her blood.
I would describe Grandma’s love as fierce, a powerful force driven by her love for Jesus and the genuine desire to ensure that her family is taken care of. She has this ability to know if I need something, whether it’s a few bucks for gas or a toothbrush, she’s always looked out for me. A practical love.
I went to visit her during my lunch break. I was expecting her to be like sick people in movies, suffering but still coherent, with a good chance that they’ll be okay in a week or so. When I walked in the hospital room, she was being spoon fed by Grandpa, her fever so high that even being fed like a child was difficult. Her forehead was sticky as I kissed her. I’d never seen her vulnerable, and to me, that was the hardest part. I tried to hold myself together, tears threatening to pour from my eyes. I got up to wash my hands, checked my watch, tried as I could to not completely breakdown in the room. For my struggling was not what mattered, we were there for Grandma, but we needed to be supportive for Grandpa.
In the way that Grandma is fierce, Grandpa is sweet. From the glimmer in his smile, to the way he hugs you like he’s never seen anyone so wonderful, Grandpa is without question one of the cutest people to ever grace this planet. He’s gentle, caring, and truly kind. He’s so humble that I don’t think he’s ever realized the effect that he has on the people in a room, for I’ve never met anyone else like him.
Watching Grandpa look over Grandma, he’s sweet nature shining in his eyes, was possibly more heart-wrenching than watching Grandma suffer in her bed. But I can honestly say, I don’t think I ever witnessed the power of love until I watched them in the hospital room. People always think they know what love is, usually defining it by putting someone else first, compatibility, and the willingness to work through difficult times. All of this is true, however, understanding that you may never see your partner again, and doing everything you can to ease their pain and tell them how wonderful they are – that’s love in the rawest form.
There was something beautiful about how my family functioned. Our personal lives were put aside with the understanding that Grandma and Grandpa came first. We gathered around Grandma every day, ate our lunches in the hospital cafeteria, did what we could to help – which was essentially just to be there. We were all hopeful that the operation to remove the bacteria ridden pacemaker would go smoothly, but we also understood that this could possibly be the end of Grandma’s time on this Earth.
When I got the word that Grandma made it through the surgery, I took the first real breath I’d had in days. I was crying and laughing, the walls of trying to maintain composure finally cracking. Though sadly, we weren’t through the worst of it, at least, not yet.
Grandma’s fever was still on the rise, making her uncomfortable and delirious. I went to visit her on a particularly bad evening; she tossed and turned, groaning in agony, trying to rip her temporary external pacemaker off her body as it sat uncomfortably on her chest. It took an hour or so for her fever to drop enough that she could open her eyes and see me. If there was ever a time that it would be totally acceptable for someone to be selfish, it would be then. But she looked at me, told me how precious I was, and informed me that she had leggings for me back at the house.
Grandma’s true character is selfless. She barely complained, whenever she was coherent she would make sure that we were all well fed, she’d talk about her beautiful family, and how she doesn’t know what she’d do without us.
Now it seems like Grandma is through the worst of it, however, she’s still gonna be in the hospital for at least a month as they wait for the bacteria to completely leave her system. But even through the hardest times, the one thing that really stood out was how much my family loves each other.
And I’m not just being biased, even the doctor’s made comments.