Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Visit With Grandma…And A Pause To Reflect

We had the opportunity to go and see my Grandma McClellan in the nursing home where she has been a resident for a couple years. She is 95 now and this past week she started to bleed for no apparent reason. She went to the hospital and they could not figure out why, or how to make it stop. She received a blessing from my brother and Dad and it did stop…for now. However, the Doctor said that it will probably happen again, and they will not be able to stop it. Basically, she will go to sleep and bleed till she passes away. It is a peaceful way to go, according to what the doctors told my mom. So, being that we were in Eugene, and realizing that this quite likely would be the last time I would see my Grandma McClellan alive on this earth, we decided we needed to go and see her.

It was not easy, because it is very depressing to see her, or anyone else, in that condition. I have visited her several times before and it always makes me sad. But nursing homes also serve as an important reminder for many things in life, at least for me. When we arrived, she was sound asleep. After some effort, we got her to wake up and talk. However, she could not figure out who I was. I kept repeating my name, but she could not come up with it. She is blind in one eye, and the other barely works. She is also close to deaf, so communication is not easy, but her mind is still OK. It just takes a little bit to get going.

After a while, she recognized Carol. Bailey, Trevin and Caden each apprehensively said hi and smiled at her. She was happy to see them. Tyler would not leave the door jam and even enter the room all the way. He stood there and cried, refusing to look at her. Everyone shed tears as we looked at her and continued trying to explain who I was. I gave up and just decided to tell her how I felt. I sat down on her bed, put my arm on her shoulder and said: “Grandma, I love you.” I told her we thought of her and we prayed for her. I kissed her on the cheek (her skin surprisingly very soft) and hugged her, the best I could in that position. She smiled at me and said thank you. We all shed more tears and then, when we were just about to go, she asked Carol: “Where’s Kent?” Then she looked at me and said: “Are you Kent?” I told her yes, and then she said: “Now I recognize you. It just takes me a while. Sorry I’m so dumb today.” Carol asked if we could do anything, and she said she was cold, so I put two more blankets on her. She told me thank you, again. She said: “No one ever covers me up around here.” Again, we told her we loved her and she thanked us for visiting. We said goodbye and departed. She popped her head up one more time to see if we were still there, then laid it down again to sleep.

I don’t know if that will be the last time I see her in this life, but I know I’m glad we stopped. Things have never been easy for my Grandma McClellan, or my Grandpa when he was alive, but I know she loved her family. Oh sure, she complained about a lot of things, but we grandkids still liked her. She always enjoyed our attention, and we always loved to tease her. She enjoyed it, though; like I said she liked the attention.

As we drove away, I told Carol: “It’s funny, death. Many people are taken from this earth much sooner than we think is right and then we wonder: ‘Why did Heavenly Father call that person home?’ And then there are others that live so long, that we wonder, ‘Why does Heavenly Father want them here still?’ We just have to trust him and his infinite wisdom.” The whole situation was tough, but it was also very sweet. I do find it sad that my Grandma is there, just waiting to die, but it’s a teaching moment for me. It makes me think that I need to appreciate what I have more. I need to love my kids more and spend even more time with them. I need to love Carol more and treat her with love and kindness all the time. It reminds me that my parents and Carol’s parents are also getting older and I need to show more love and appreciation for them. I need to love my siblings more and let them know it more. I also need to love my Savior more and trust him more and appreciate every blessing my Heavenly Father has given me. Death will come to each of us, when the Lord decides it’s time. This visit with my Grandma has helped me realize, yet again, that I need to take advantage of every opportunity in this life, while I’m still living it. So thanks again Grandma for the good memories. My prayers are still with you. If I don’t see you again in this life, I plan to see you again in the life to come.


what was i thinking?! said...

Great blog, Kent. I had similar thoughts and feelings as Dad and I blessed her and as I then said goodbye. Life is indeed precious, fragile and fleeting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Livingston Stuff said...

Hi Kent, I am glad that you guys got to see her. I hope she doesn't have to suffer much longer. That reminds me of the last time I saw her with you, same thing. anyways thanks for the thought. miss you guys