Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Crux of Hope

Anniversary. It is a word that can invoke great joy or great sorrow, and sometimes, mixes a confusing cocktail of emotions. Anniversaries commemorate events. Some precious like marriage, birth, sobriety, and the remission of cancer. In my family, 2008 marks several joyous occasions. In April, my son turned one and a month later, my brother, who just three years ago lost his right leg and nearly his life in a motorcycle accident, celebrated 30 years of making this planet a better place. Another special family event will happen in November as my great-great-grandparents rejoice over 75 years of marriage.

Sadly, not all anniversaries are cause for merriment. The annual date marking a divorce, death, or other crushing loss, dump regret, despair, and longing on many bruised hearts. For me, tomorrow is a reminder of such a loss. It is the one-year anniversary of PapPap’s stroke. It was an event that stripped a vibrant man of many pleasures and dignities. An event that halted my near daily telephone conversations and e-mail correspondences with my beloved grandfather. My biggest fan. He is still alive and a blessing to this world, make no mistake about it. But, oh, do I miss the relationship we had. I miss our jokes, our banter about Philadelphia sport teams, and the pride in his voice when he responded to stories about me and my children.

My heart is concrete laden. Grief and guilt, which never left it, are stretching their legs and attempting to overhaul peace and hope. Toward the end of a telephone conversation PapPap and I had just about 12 hours before his stroke, I felt antsy. PapPap was rambling. I could tell he was having a lonely day and just wanted to talk. My one-month old baby was nursing, my three-year-old daughter was whining, my body ached with exhaustion, and my mind riddled with PPD induced intrusive thoughts. So, I cut our conversation short. I wasn’t rude or trite, but I did end the call before he was ready to say goodbye. I knew that. He didn’t let on, but I knew.

If only I had known it would be the last true two-way conversation we would have. I would have held that phone against my ear for hours. I would have asked his opinion on every issue I could name. I would have begged him to tell me stories from his youth, even the ones he told numerous times. I would have fervently clung to his every word, each intonation of his voice. If only, I would have…

The land of “If Only I Would Have” is a stark and fruitless land. It is no place to call home. I know I need to leave it without a single backward glance. You see, despite the agony, every part of me, from my stubby toes to my caramel hair and each atom of my soul is better suited in a hope-filled land where trust in the King quells the army of spiritual oppressors. While sadness and suffering do exist on this beautiful land, they have no power to enslave me. I can choose to kneel at their boots, but they cannot keep me against my will. I cannot escape encountering them, but I can turn my gaze upward grasp the arm of peace.

When focusing on the One in control, my heart’s throbbing steadies. I am reminded of the splendor amid the debris. I am reminded that while my conversations with PapPap have changed on this earth, the one I had with him 365 days ago will not be our last. One day, we stroll down golden streets, laughing, joking, and enjoying the company of one another. And that may not be a pain elixir, but it is, the crux of hope.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death. And to keep them alive in famine. – Psalm 33:18-19 ( NKJV)

And from the Message Watch this: God's eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together. – Psalm 33:18-19

Update on PapPap – Thank you so much for praying for a beloved man whom you’ve never met. PapPap returned to the nursing home facility yesterday. The cause of his hospitalization was not a second stroke, but severe dehydration. Despite my family’s active influence in my PapPap’s care, the nursing home in which he resides, like so many others throughout the country is suffering from a staff deficit, which means the patients, in turn, suffer. The hospital doctors have ordered special care for PapPap and a specific amount of fluid to be consumed by him each day. Please pray that the care he and others receive improve drastically. Another concern is that due to an infection, he has been moved to a solitary room in bottom level of the facility. It is the area where patients with dementia reside. My mother visited it yesterday and said that the halls were filled with howls. PapPap may be physically impaired, but his mental faculties are in decent condition. Perhaps not as strong as they were a little more than a year ago, but he is fully aware of his surroundings. This adds stress and grief to his current situation. Please pray for his spirit. Lastly, please pray for PapPap’s children. My mother, especially, has had a very trying year. Again. Thank you for caring about PapPap enough to pray for him.

In other “PapPap” news, I have written a children’s book about him and I. It is told by a mother recalling memories to her daughter. An artist from my hometown is working on the illustrations. Please pray that this book in some form will make it to PapPap’s hands.





25 comments:

Alene said...

What a beautiful blog and post. My dad was stripped of his vibrant personality and healthy by a disease. I'm sure the children's book would be such a blessing to him. I'd love to see it. Blessings.

Xandra said...

I can feel the love you have for your Pap Pap just jumping off the screen. What a beautiful post and a reminder to all of us to cherish each moment, because life changes so quickly.

Xandra

Lisa said...

There is so much I want to say, share, cry, pray and so on but I will say that I'm praying with you for PapPap. My Grandpa, my hero for over 1000 reasons went home to be with the Lord last Oct 31st. I was with him two days prior. He was 92. An incredible Christ centered man with real unconditional love for his family. I miss him still...and will always.

Stay encouraged and God bless you.

Joyfulsister said...

Continued prayers for your pappap. The Lord knows the what if's.. are just the cries of our heart and he understands the human heart because he once walked amongst us with the same heart. I can feel the love you have for your pappap, and I know he feels it just as much..
Hugz Lorie

Beautiful Craziness said...

God is so merciful and to have a hope in eternity filled with streets of gold and a chrystal sea...all for us. His mercy endures for ever and joy comes in the morning. That was beautiful and a great reminder to stop each day and ask God to give us patience, love and mercy to hold on to everything we love. Sending prayers.

Denise said...

i love to hear you share of your grandfather..to hear your deep love for him.
i was raised by my grandfather, he was father figure to me. his face would light up when i entered the room, he delighted in me. i miss being his treasure. alzheimers slowly caused him to disappear, until God took him home. God covers with His grace upon grace. He is good.
May he be tangible to your grandfather, draw near to him, breath life into his spirit, speak truth, love, and comfort to his mind, rejoice over him with singing.

Kathy said...

Hi, I just linked to your from Pam's page and you really are a wonderful writer. I admire your courage and I wish more people would find peace in God like you do. Such a sad situation, after reading this I wish I could move pap-pap in with me. I hope things improve!!

Lynn said...

What a wonderful tribute to a man that has made and continues to make a huge impact on this world and those who love him.

Brittany said...

How wonderful! I will be praying for him and your book!

Joanne said...

Oh friend, you made me cry.

Your Pappap sounds like such an amazing man. What a God given blessing to have been loved all of your life by him.

GrandCanyonMom said...

What a moving post. I sort of know what you mean because I had the opportunity to go visit my grandpa a few days before he died. Being 10 years old at the time, I really wasn't up for it. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up and I should have gone this one last time. My mom gave me a choice and I stayed home with my dad and younger siblings. If only I knew that was my last chance to see my grandpa alive. I always regretted that. But your words are so true about that stark and fruitless land! We have to look forward in order to run our race!

Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I'm praying for PapPap and the book, even now.
Jaime

Andrea said...

I can understand what you are going through - my grandfather suffered a stroke from a brain tumour several months after my first daughter was born. He hung on until my second was 1, but he was never the same. It was so hard to see him like that - I missed his incessant teasing!! I'll keep you and your family in my prayers. And hang on to that knowledge that you will have lots to talk about when Jesus returns. I'm sure your PapPap is storing up many things!

Nadine said...

I stand in prayer with you that he gets the kind of care he needs and the Lord will watch over him.

Elizabeth said...

a great post...i am glad that you have had such a long and sweet relationship with your pap-pap. i did not have much of a relationship with one of my g-pas and he passed away in 1996 and my other gpa has always lived far away and i haven't had much opportunity to get to know him. he's also amish and i'm not so the division definitely causes some greater separation. but i have been blessed enough to have other gpa like figures in my life and a GREAT dad... Prais the Lord for your wonderful Pap-Pap...look forward to hearing more about your children's book! *elizabeth

Dawn Bibbs said...

Hello, first of all, let me just say, this is an awesome post. Your writings are so well spoken and heartfelt. I can't imagine what you must be going through with Pap-Pap. But at least he's around for you to go through it with. That, in an of itself, is a blessing.

Secondly, I'd like to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment. I hope you'll visit again soon.

Have a great week.

the160acrewoods said...

hugs and prayer my sweet friend. What a touching post. I'll be praying for your pappa.

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Beautiful post. I am still mourning the loss of my grandmother who passed away almost a month ago. In light of this time for me, this post was especially meaningful. Thanks and I will pray for him and your book right now.

Marina said...

oh, I now too well how you feel I Lost my mom when I was 29 years old boy that hurt a mother I would never see again and still long for even today.. I was given such short time with her and my dear grandmother my mom's mom out live her my mom was 56 when she pass my garndmother was 83 I would go vist her and cry and she would hold me and the smell of my grandmother some how I felt closer to my mom when my grand mother pass it was bitter sweet for me.I love my garand mother for being there for me I found confort in her arms.marina

We are THAT Family said...

This was such a sweet heartfelt post about this special person. I'm sure every time you or your family is near, he can feel your love, even if he can't express it.

Alana said...

I just love reading about the love you have for your grandfather. It is somewhat foreign to me as I do not/have not had that kind of relationship with my grandparents. Your relationship with him past and present is truly a blessing.

Amy Guerino said...

I love your words, "While sadness and suffering do exist on this beautiful land, they have no power to enslave me." And so I pray for the both of us today:

Gracious Father, As I have my dear grandmother in the hospital for what seems like a minor surgery but at her age I fear....may false guilt of cut off conversations not become enslavements. Help us see them for what they really are. Only You know what the next hour will bring and may we rest in your Sovereignty. Thank you for the hope of the New Heaven and New Earth where we will walk, run, laugh, and enjoy the company of these dear loved ones without suffering, old-age limitations, and false guilt. May you come quickly....we long for deliverance. Amen.

Thank you for the button option from your blog....you are on mine!

Elizabeth said...

I love this post for so many reasons. I lost my grandma a week ago today, and for the last week my heart has hurt so badly for all of the things I should have done and should have said to her before she left this earth. Your post reminded me that my regret not only depresses me, it does not glorify God or bring me any closer to seeing her again. It steals my joy about the beautiful life she did lead. Thank you for the reminder.

The Gang's All Here! said...

This is such a beautiful peek inside your heart - thank you for sharing it. I had a similar situation when I was 16 - my family went to visit Grandpa after his latest hospitalization but I had to work and the family couldn't find a sitter on such short notice so I stayed home. I regretted it for ages. But my dad figured out what was going on and the Lord prompted him to tell me how proud Grandpa was of me for having a job already and for my strong work ethic - that has always meant the world to me. I am fairly certain your PapPap knew that the life of a young mommy was busy and he understands that your kids needed you. And I'm sure that he and Our Father are both very proud of you and your mothering of them! Be blessed!

Mocha with Linda said...

What a sweet post. Your Pap Pap is blessed to have such a loving granddaughter, and I know you are blessed by him. It is indeed hard to see them be less than what they were.

I feel for your family's struggles with the long-term issues. It is so frustrating what the state of long-term care is.

jen said...

Clicked over here from a comment you left at my place, and I'm enjoying my stay! Thanks for your comment, but thank you even more for you this post - what a bittersweet post! I have grandparents that are amazing; thank you for the encouragement to enjoy them more! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...