Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In God's Hands

The boys are home from school and the homework is done when I wake Ben and Grace up from their naps. Snacks are handed out and eaten while we watch a little Spongebob.  Then I begin.

"So, grandpa isn't doing very well, guys.  The pneumonia is causing his lungs to fill up with fluid and he is having a real hard time breathing.  They tried different medicines and procedures to get the fluid out and make grandpa feel better but nothing is working.  There really is nothing else that can be done."  I tell the kids earnestly.  

"Does that mean grandpa is going to die?" Tommy asks nervously.

"Yes, honey.  Your lungs are just supposed to have air in them and grandpa's are filling up with fluid so that makes it hard for him to breath." I repeat again.

"I want grandpa to die because then he will get to go to heaven and I will be so happy for him.  It is much better there."  Joey wisely says.

"Yes!  That is exactly right, Joey. Such a smart boy. I am so happy for grandpa.  But the hard thing about death is that we are sad for us because we will miss grandpa.  So we are both happy and sad at the same time."  I try to explain. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was explaining all of this to the kids about my father?  Here we are again so soon.

"Grandpa is gonna die?"  Ben asks again.

"Yes.  We don't know when.  But grandpa has been having a hard time with Alzheimer's for so long and it only gets worse.  So really, we should be glad that grandpa won't have to suffer anymore.  Daddy is with him right now.  They moved grandpa from the hospital back to his nursing home." I tell them feeling the deja vu.

"Today at school when we were having our prayer circle I asked my class to pray for grandpa because he has ammonia."  Tommy informed me.

"It's pneumonia, honey.  That was so nice of you!  How nice for grandpa to be getting so many prayers!" I respond, giving him a hug.

"Mom, I really don't like Alzheimer's.  It's stupid."  Joey says.

"I know. I agree." I say as I put my arm around Joe.  "If you want we can go and see grandpa.  Let him know how much we love him.  Thank him for being a good grandpa.  Would you like to do that?" I ask the kids.

"Yeah!" "I would!" "I wanna see granpa!" "Yeah, let's go see grandpa!" The kids answer in unison.

We quickly get our shoes and jackets on and head out the door to grandpa's nursing home.

When we get there the rest of the family is in a meeting with hospice.  The kids and I go to grandpa's room to keep him company.  As we walk down the hall the nurse explains to the kids how grandpa is sleeping and has a breathing tube in his nose. She tries to prep them for what they will see.  Little does she know what wily veterans my kids are with Alzheimer's, nursing homes, and death.

We say "hello" to grandpa and let him know we are all here for him.  We talk about the various pictures of grandpa around the room and talk about grandpa's favorite subjects, the cabin, hunting, his dog Daisy, and his family.  Grandpa moves around a bit letting us know he is listening. The kids are so brave and compassionate holding grandpa's hand and talking to him.  I could not be more proud.

Soon the rest of the family is in his room with us.  We all say an Our Father together at Ben's request (and then a Hail Mary, The Guardian Angel prayer, and all the other favorites too) and grandpa wakes up briefly to look at his wife and hold her hand.  Seeing the love between grandma and grandpa is such a beautiful thing to witness.  She strokes his face and speaks sweetly and lovingly to him and you can see his desire to respond.  Love.  I say a silent prayer for God to give grandma strength. Peace.

Soon Father Jim arrives to give grandpa the Anointing of the Sick.  The minute Father begins the blessing grandpa's arms stop flailing and shaking and he folds his hands on his chest in complete peace.    Father's words wash over the room with such love it moves the whole family to tears.  What a blessing to watch such a sacrament.  A baptism into heaven.

Afterwards the room feels lighter.  

Later that night as the kids are getting ready for bed the finality of it all begins to set in.  The kids cry and say they don't want grandpa to die.  They ask how old they will be when we die.  There are tears and hugs. They want to be happy for grandpa, but of course, there is sadness and worry as well.

It is a waiting game now.  We pray for grandpa's comfort and peace.  We pray for strength, peace, and comfort for grandma as well, and that both grandpa and grandma may feel God's love and their family's love surrounding them at every moment.

And we wait.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Kat. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. My husband's grandmother passed in February and as you wrote, it was a sad and yet happy time simultaneously. I wish you peace.

Mom24 said...

I am so sorry. I hope that it can be peaceful for all of you. You'll be in my prayers.

Dawn said...

I am so very sorry Kat. I will pray for you family, for peace during this difficult time.

Tabor said...

Kat I have tears in my eyes as I try to type this. You should be so proud of how you handled this. Your children are going to be the kind of people we all want in the world. I am sorry for this loss and I hope you all soon have peace of mind and heart.

I also wanted to comment on your words to my post. You feel that way because you body and mind are telling you that you need retreat as well as technology. There is nothing wrong with turning it all off and heading for the country for a while.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh Kat, it doesn't seem fair that you all have to go through this again. I am so sorry. My hugs and prayers are being sent your way.

Charmaine said...

Hi Kat...such a difficult time for your family :( we went through this last September with my Father-In-Law...thinking of you all...

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Dear Kat,

Thinking of you and your family, and keeping you in prayer. Such a beautiful, bittersweet post.

Love, Cheri


Bijoux said...

Love and prayers for you and your family during this very sad time.

Kelly said...

So sorry you are going through all of this and I know how hard it has to be for the kiddos to lose 2 grandpas. I wish him peace and comfort in his final days.

lime said...

oh kat, i am so sorry to hear of this. it's such a terribly difficult thing to watch and wait helplessly. it sounds as if he is surrounded by love though and what more can any of us ask in our final days and hours?

i pray for peace and comfort for each of you in this hard transition.

maggie said...

Kat, I am SO sorry to hear this. I always remembered your posts about going through this with your dad, and it breaks my heart. What beautiful and compassionate kids you are raising. That part makes my heart smile while the rest of it breaks for all of you.

Ellen Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen Smith said...

Kat very sad to hear about it, I pray for your family, God give you peach for this difficult time.
save my relationship

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear of another loss for your family, my thoughts are with you all.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm praying or your peace.

Annmarie Pipa said...

you are blessed with family and faith... I bet you dad knows that too. I will pray for all of you tonight.

Hilary said...

Kat, I'm so sorry for your family's sadness and impending loss. Your children are beautiful people.. a legacy from the generations before them. I wish for a comfortable, peaceful passing for your father in law and the strength to endure the loss for those he'll leave behind. Hugs to you and yours.

Riahli said...

Oh sadness, you've really got me crying hard. It's such a tough thing to go through. Your family is so sweet, and I love how you gently guide your children through the whole process. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Cyndy Newsome said...

I am so sorry.
I'm so sad and angry for your family. Alzheimer's is a cruel thief.

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

I have goosebumps at what Joey said. And, tears in my eyes.

Praying for you and your family through this hard time.

Wisconsin Girl said...

Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time and praying for peace for both Grandpa and Grandma.

Ellen Smith said...

I am very sorry Kat, I know how it feels as i too lost my grandfather few years back but that mixed feeling of sadness and happiness is still as fresh as then in my heart. We cannot help it but pray so that they get peace and also get rid of all the pain and sufferings. I am truly touched by some points of the post especially the affectionate point between your grandma and grandpa. I think this take great people like them to be together all that while. I also loved the way your kids showed their love for grandpa as they wanted to see him and when they cried for him. This is so touchy. I wish there was nothing called death and we never had to lose our loved ones ... I wish! I pray more strength, love and peace to you and your family, take care!
save my relationship

Elaine Alguire said...

You are raising some really amazing human beings, Kat. :)

Karen Deborah said...

Oh lord, this made me cry...so beautiful you are an amzing wise and wonderful mother! Thank you so much for including your children in this and teaching them these valuable lessons! Many families exclude the children and I don't think they ever get it figured out that way. Hugs to all of you.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson