So I had opportunity to drive down to Arlington, TX this weekend. Got news that my Granny is in hospice care. She’s 91 years old and… well… how should I say it, still giving people hell after all these years! I say that tongue in cheek… mostly because if my Granny ever heard me (or read me) use the word “Hell” like that, she’d literally put soap in my mouth to “wash it out.”
I love my Granny. When I was a very small child, it was a treat to get to sleep in Granny’s room, because you got to be and feel very special for a magnificent moment in time. Granny would either read (with her very animated voice) “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” or she’d make up her own story, which often began with “a fat lady in a bird-bath.” Not sure why, but it always got a giggle out of me. That’s probably why.
Trips to her farm near Lingleville, TX were highlights of my youth. The two hour trip felt like an eternity until we finally hit the gravel road that ended with her small farmhouse. I still recall feeling lit up inside to be on that farm with granny. Remember the smell of her famous yeast rolls. The smell and sound of a roaring fire in her fireplace around Christmas time. The dim lamp light in her living room as we sat around the tree opening presents for what seemed like hours on Christmas Eve.
She would chase us around the house. Tickle us until we nearly peed ourselves. May have in some cases, I can’t remember for sure. Encourage an adventurous spirit within us. Arm us with a 410 shotgun and set us free to eliminate (if possible) the worlds rabbit, possum and armadillo populations. Specifically because they were always ruining her vegetable garden. She was rambunctious, full of spirit, and alive to God, people, and to the world. She survived an abusive alcoholic husband (who quite probably loved her best he could in that condition). She survived a divorce, a serious car accident, many years of living alone on a farm, and truly God knows what else. Tenacity, vibrancy, joy, humor, love. All words I would use to describe my Granny. Sometimes affectionately known as Granny Grunt.
Not too long ago, Granny was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A disease that effects the brain, and therefore, the personality. Granny really left us long ago. In the nursing home, she has been difficult for her family, and even for her nursing staff to help. But that’s not the Granny I remember, nor eulogize here.
Tonight, she lies fragile and weak in a nursing home bed in East Fort Worth. She is in the last of a series of nursing homes. The last one that would accept responsibility to care for her.
My Granny Grunt is moments, hours, could be a couple of days (no one really knows) from moving out of her earthly body and into the next place. In some ways, I envy her. Wish I was going.
What I wish and pray for her is that God has a sense of humor. That the first thing she’ll see is a “fat lady in a birdbath.” Maybe then she’ll think of me, return to her old self, and long for the day when I get to join her there.
I love you Granny. But you know that already.