Visiting Grandma

Last night, I had the honor and blessing of visiting Grandma in Illinois.

My grandmother turned 93 years old in April.  I wrote about our last visit in a previous post.  She’s definitely a special woman.

Her health has continued to slip, and her memory is failing which is frustrating for someone who skipped to grades of school and is often referred to as the family genius.

When I arrived at her home (which is now a nursing home), the entire residence was in the middle of a tornado warning.  All the residents were lined up in the hallway in their wheelchairs with the doors closed to their rooms.  It appeared that they were getting ready for some type of wheelchair NASCAR race.  As I rounded the corner into the hallway, I was initially concerned that I might have trouble finding Grandma.  But I quickly found her lined up with the other residents eating a “Blackhawk” cookie.  (The Stanley Cup Finals started last night, and they were giving the residents “Blackhawk” cookies to help them celebrate the home team – the Chicago Blackhawks.)

She kind of smiled at me as we started to talk.  I asked her how she was doing, and I explained that I was in town for a business trip to my company’s home office.  After talking for a few minutes, she looked up at me and asked:  “What’s your name?”  The more recent year’s have clearly been unkind to Grandma’s memory.  Once I told her that I was her grandson, Jon, she seemed to spring to life as she pulled some information from the murky corridors of her brain.

Eventually, the tornado warning let up, and we went into her room where we could sit and talk.  We talked about Swedish Christmas food and about our family which is now spread from Guam to Pennsylvania and from Texas to Wisconsin.  We talked about Grandpa who passed away over six years ago and about the church where my grandparents used to be so active.  Some of the details came out clear and some were a bit cloudy.  Despite some of the confusion, it was amazing to me to see Grandma’s faith which has remained steadfast through the ups and downs of life and through the current physical and mental failings that seem to accelerate in more recent years.

Grandma has a hope for heaven.  She has a clear confidence in God.  She prays for her family – especially that they would follow Jesus.  Above her bed, she has a photo family tree that allows her to show off her two kids, seven grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren (if I did the math correctly).  This photo collage also serves as her reminder to pray for each one of us.

Our visit contained laughs, smiles, some silent moments, and even a couple of tears.  As I left to return to my hotel, I told Grandma that I loved her, and I explained that I would see her next month when our family makes a swing through the Midwest on our vacation.  I’m not sure if she’ll remember our visit.  And I guess it doesn’t really matter.  For a couple of hours last night, I hope I brightened her day.  I know she brightened mine.

What is special about your grandma?