Home, Nursing Home, Eternal Home
Thursday marks one of the hardest days I have ever had to face. The day of Mike's accident was one, and the day we were told our daughter had a birth defect was another. But Thursday ranks right up there... As some of you know, I was raised by my grandparents. They are the most wonderful, caring, loving people you may ever meet. They raised me with such love from a Christian home. I am so blessed to have had this wonderful life with them.
My grandpa has been struggling with a debilitating lung disease for some time now, and my grandma has had years of back pain due to crushed vertebrae. For several weeks now, Grandma has been taking care of Grandpa. It's her favorite job, "taking care of others". When Mike died, she pretty much moved in with the girls and I and "took care of us". Not to mention, all the years of raising me and caring for others along the way. A few weeks ago, she started having much more pain than ever before and was unable to take care of Grandpa. She was admitted to the hospital for pain control and rehabilitation. Then, the next day, Grandpa was admitted to the same hosptial with extreme breathing problems.
Within three days, our world was rocked. My dad, my husband and I were moving them into two seperate nursing homes. The sight of seeing them in the hospital saying "goodbye" to one another...after 61 years of marriage and not knowing what was next, was gut wrenching. They cried, and off we went with Grandpa, round 1 for the long day...we walked the long hallway joining the hospital to the nursing home with two nurses. When we arrived at Grandpa's new "home", my stomach was in knots. They had worked their entire life and lived in a house that Grandpa had built years ago...and walked into a nursing home with 1 bag of clothes. Really, this is what his life is going to be like now? Sharing a room with a stranger and the bare minimum of essentials. My grandma got moved later the same day.
On our way to move them, I said to my husband, "I feel like someone died." It was the "hole in my stomach" feeling...it wasn't because "someone" had died, but because "something" had died. Our past together had died, and although they are still here with me, our past won't ever be the same. Going to their house, the girls helping Grandma in the kitchen, playing cards with Papa, and just the wonderful memories we have made with them. But, the great news is this: no one can ever take away our memories, and we will always have the most wonderful memories of them from years past as well as each day we are blessed to have them here with us.
This whole past week has been a blur of emotion and heartache. These are the people that raised me and loved me unconditionally my entire life. I so wanted to bring them here to our home and care for them, but I realize I am not a nurse and can't care for their needs. This life lesson puts "things" into perspective once again, as they were when Mike died. "Things" don't matter, it's the loved ones in our lives that matter. This isn't about the house and belongings they left behind, it's about their well being and love they are given. I love these two people more than any of you will ever know, and I pray for God to reunite them soon...either at the same nursing home, back at their home, or in Heaven...their eternal home.