I got a phone call almost two weeks ago letting me know that my dad was at the ER in Santa Maria, CA.
It was a Sunday night and my daughter, Katie, had called her grandparents that evening to wish them a Happy Grandparents Day. When my dad answered the phone, Katie realized immediately that something wasn’t right with her pop-pop. She texted me and asked that I call my brother, who lives about 10 minutes away from them, and have him go over and check on my dad right away. He got there and immediately took my dad to the local hospital. The doctors decided to run some tests because something was terribly wrong. Within 12 hours of his being admitted, he was getting a pacemaker.
It was the next morning, Monday, that I took the four hour drive north to be there to meet my brother at the hospital along with my mom. I wanted to help out in any way I could. I arrived after my dad had just gotten out of his surgery and was back in his room.
As I walked into the Cardiac Care unit and poked my head in to say hello to my mom, a nurse guided me away to where my brother was speaking to a case worker. As I sat there in that room with the door open, I could see my mom wandering out of my father’s room looking for me. At least that is what I think she was doing. She looked confused and lost, and my heart began to hurt for her.
My mom is suffering from dementia and all of my siblings are concerned for both heir well being. Sometimes she is in a really good place and other times….not so much.
Three days after I got there, I helped get my dad and his new pacemaker home.
Katie, my daughter, her boyfriend and her two girls drove over for a few days so Katie, the nurse, could help as well. She took over the communication with the doctors and helped us all understand what was going on and how to be of assistance to my dad during this time of transition
The day after they arrived I was sitting in spare room where I was camped out for my stay and my 12 year old granddaughter, Brianna came in and plopped herself on the bed.
She asked “Grandma, do you have your book in your computer?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I want you to read me a chapter. Would you do that for me?” she said.
“Sure honey. How about I read chapter one?”
To that she answered, “That would be nice. So she snuggled up against me and I began to read. A few minutes later my 13 year old granddaughter, Jessie came in and asked if she could join us too.
“Absolutely. Jump on.” I laughed.
We lay there together, the three of us, as I opened my heart and my past to these beautiful children. I shared the beginning of my journey as a young, scared woman marrying their grand dad and how my life began unraveling soon after that.
They know the story is about raising their drug addicted mother and their two uncles.
The girls sat still and listened. They were as quiet as a church mouse.
When I was finished reading chapter one, Bryanna said, “Oh grandma, I can’t wait to read your book. You leave me hungry for more. I told my teacher that you are writing a book and that you are going to be an author. MY grandma, an author. He wants to read your book too.”
And then she said, “Grandma, I know you are going to win a Newberry Award.”
“Oh Bryanna, that would be wonderful. What’s a Newberry Award?” I inquired.
She smiled as she answered, “I’m not sure, but I know it has to do with books and I think it’s something that goes on the outside of the book, like a sticker. You’re going to win Grandma. I just know you are.”
I felt so blessed at that moment.
Nothing else has really changed in the situation with my parents. My dad is home from the hospital. He is working to get stronger but can’t take care of my mom like he used to. My mom will never get her memory back. This is not an easy time for our family. We are taking it one day at a time.
Because of my father and his need for his daughter, I got to spend precious time not only with my parents but I received a present from the heart from two very special granddaughters.
I sat there on the bed after they left the room and my soul smiled. I realized that even in what appears to be a crisis there are always silver linings. I must only be aware and open my eyes to the miracles and gifts around me.
On that afternoon I received a true gift of love and I am grateful.
Thank you Bryanna and Jessie. YOU are so beautiful.
And thanks pop-pop for not dying. I’m not ready for you to go HOME yet.