I spent the last two weeks in small town South Carolina caring for my husband’s grandmother as she spent her last days on earth. Seeing the human condition, the hurt and the joys all intertwined, exhaustion and night watches, not knowing where her spirit lies and the singing of hymns at her bedside- it was so painful and beautiful all at once.
There was a lot of uneasiness that I felt going in. Physically, taking care of a person at the end of their life is similar to taking care of a newborn in that they can’t do anything for themselves. I was so unprepared. My conversations with God were the most brutally honest ones I have ever had. To be there was a gift, as it turns out.
I watched her die. My life changed. She was 91.
A lot of things are changing in our family because of grandmother. For the good, we are doing things very differently for our children. We want Eleanor and our future babies to grow up in a home that knows Jesus, that chases dreams, that is wise and full of learning. We want to not waste time but to enjoy it. We want to explore and create. We want to live with grace abounding and love overflowing and honesty welcome and fear nowhere to be found. And we went to leave legacies. Physical ones and ones that can’t be touched with our hands.
As they lay her in the ground, both Adam and I were thinking on Ash Wednesday. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Very literally have I seen this. A passing world. Passing bodies.
And yet God gives us this, Psalm 103.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.”
He redeems. I want to teach my children that redemption, in all the ways.
Changing things around here.
In other news, today I discovered the glorious that is coconut cream from Trader Joes. Hallelujah.
Coconut Cream Milkshake
1 ripe banana
2 heaping scoops of coconut cream (eat the rest straight out of the can)
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 cup of your choice of milk
5 ice cubes
Blend until smooth, and treat yourself to a healthy dose of something that tastes like ice-cream.