Back Too Soon
Last Friday, after being in Nicaragua only two and a half weeks, my sister Beth sent me an urgent email asking me to call her. I called her only to find out that my grandmother was sick and would most likely not make it through the weekend. I quickly found a plane ticket home, threw some things in a bag and arrived in Houston less than ten hours after getting the message.
When Beth picked me up at the airport, she hugged me and let me know that Grandmother had passed a few hours earlier. (We called her “Grandmother.”) In the car on the way back to my parents’ house, Beth told me a little about Grandmother’s last few days.
Grandmother had stayed characteristically positive right until the end and had more visitors than the nurses on her floor had ever seen a single patient have. Her sweet disposition and love for others inspired family, friends, church members (some of whom had barely known her) to not only visit once, but to return on multiple occasions. Knowing Grandmother, her visitors were equally blessed by visiting her as she was by their visit.
Only hours before Grandmother passed, the family stood around her hospital bed sipping coffee and talking. Grandmother reached onto her table and picked up a little cup of melted ice cream. Hardly able to speak, she held the little cup in the air and signaled that she wanted to say something. My uncle understood first, “She wants to make a toast!”
Grandmother pulled the oxygen mask away far enough to be understood, “I get to see Jesus first!”
She held her cup out and toasted everyone in the room. Upon noticing that my brother-in-law, Richard, didn’t have a drink, she made him get the bottle of water on the counter and toast her. Grandmother was certain that her time had come and her destination in heaven was secure. I am thankful for her life and grateful that her suffering has ended.