I could have paced in that sun-filled pool for an hour. Gliding my hands through the water, back and forth, meditating on the last 24 hours while the sun sparkled off the ripples. Solar heat warmed my skin and transported my mood to a quiet tropical respite, much unlike the gym pool in the midst of a Minnesota winter where reality found me.
I visited my grandma yesterday. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In all actuality, it meant asking my husband to work from home so he could try to juggle meetings, a three year old, and a 20 month old … did I mention the three year old was recovering from an ear infection and possibly strep? It meant missing out on restorative time with friends, hearing a great teacher, and having to defer promises made. It meant eight hours of driving round trip, to speak with someone who was unresponsive to me. It meant a lot.
My grandma has been failing with dementia since before my amazing husband came into the picture. She sometimes forgot who I was by the time my darling daughter was born. I was merely a stranger with a cute baby when she met my second daughter. Now, 36 weeks pregnant and not encouraged to travel, I was just another presence in her room.
My prayer is that my words of love and affection hit somewhere in her soul, where her addled mind can’t reach, and that she was able to feel some of what I feel for her. I wept for her. I praised God for her faith and the perfection that awaits her in heaven. I wept for all the years that dementia stole. I wept for all the years that, while mourning the loss of who she had been, I missed out on who she was at that time. Sure, she wasn’t the same Grandma I had spent so much time with, but as I looked through family photos, I saw the familiar smile that is so foreign now, at the end. Perhaps she didn’t know exactly with whom she was sharing that smile, but she was happy.
She’ll be happy again. I don’t claim to understand the workings of heaven, but I believe Grandpa went there nearly twelve years ago, and maybe they will meet again and recognize each other. Maybe their bond will still be intact, albeit in a different way. But she will be happy.
Meanwhile, I’ll be miles upon miles away, waiting for the birth of a baby boy, wondering if God will time things so I can attend her funeral, or if my brief visit is the good-bye I’ve been granted. Either way, He’s given me peace. And His grace, His peace, that can cover us so completely, is worth everything.