Friday, March 31, 2006

"Something wonderful has happened," Cody kept saying to his grandmother.

He knew, though, the wonderful event could turn horrible if his grandpa found out that Belle, the Walker coondog, had birthed Bo's (the white lab) puppies. So Cody tiptoed down to the far end of the fenced yard, down by the scraggly garden plot, to the old clapboard doghouse where doleful Belle looked out expecting the worse, suckling her six mixed-up prizes.

I get proud of Cody when he's this way: the champion of little things that should live. I can imagine him having about twenty thousand small animals when he grows up. I can imagine him taking care of me when I'm older too like I'm a mutt of some sort that needs a safe house.

My dad, aunts and uncles are in the throes of caretaking this week as my last living grandmother fell on Tuesday and broke her hip. She was carted off to Springfield to the hospital where she had surgery. When I went to see her on Tuesday, she was all smiles, full of love, holding my hand, not knowing whether it was summer or winter, whether she was at home or at a restaurant. She kept saying, "Well, yes, from time to time, I like to go out and visit places like this." Her gray hair was wild, teeth were gone, once steady gray eyes blurred. She has a form of dementia, possibly Alzheimers, in which she can't remember much of anything. Then, in the hospital, she became confused and when night fell, she became alarmed and demented.

Old age, new unwanted births. Life cuts. My grandmother is now in a nursing home where my dad waits in a recliner, answering the same question over and over, dreading nightfall. She's not allowed to be on her feet for six weeks, yet she has no inkling why not. Her strong character remains undaunted. God, send her grace in the throes of her slow death. She was always so ferocious for God and his purpose in her life. Always on fire, always preaching.

All of us family members wonder if the night will fall hard on us in our winter years too.

All of us hold onto our current health in a gripping sense.

In the hospital waiting room, we only wanted to talk about upcoming vacation plans instead.

God grant us all grace in our throes. Amen.

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