Grey hospital walls closed in on me. Mirroring the shroud of doubt that had been weighing heavily on my spirit for weeks. My grandmother asked me to pray for her before I left her that visit. She was pale. Like the sheets on the bed, only her green eyes remained the same. Though they lacked the Irish sparkle I loved... relaying to me that this would probably be our last time together this side of heaven.
Did she even know Jesus? I wasn't sure, and my heart was heavy with a burden words could not express. Not that she didn't go to church, or teach me about God....But, had she made peace with God?
MomMom raised us while mom and dad worked full time to maintain the suburban split level home of my childhood. The typical Irish matriarch, MomMom was as quick to chase my brother with a broom when he back talked her as she was to sing diddly dee while shuffling her feet to her own jig. Most of my growing up years, I spent tormenting her in childish "divilish" ways. "Herself "encouraging me all the way.
She'd rub the chill from my red legs after I took my time getting home from elementary school everyday. Calling me a "flibbertigibbet" as my twin brother and older sister had arrived an hour before. I was too busy climbing through underground concrete runoffs and making up mysteries with my best friend to really care about her scolding too much.
My family adored a good story. A born story teller, I was happy to regale them with one every night after dinner.
Mom and dad are the down to earth types who enjoy the "shenanigans" and gave me free rein to use the tremendous imagination God gave me. We laughed hysterically sharing stories of our day.
Now at age 36, that day I'd already received a shot of chemo and didn't have time to change clothes from my grandfather's viewing. My heart was too full to be spinning fanciful tales for her. All I could do was pray what was on my heart. "Jesus, please help MomMom accept you as her Lord and Savior."
My mom stayed with her that night as I drove the hour and a half home to my family, a husband, two little girls, then ages 6 and 10 and our puppy Angel.
We'd gotten Angel that Christmas. The girls fell head over heels the minute they found our keeshound in her kennel at 6:00 A.M...too early for any "creatures" to be stirring. When they saw her our then six year old rubbed the sleep from her eyes and whispered. "Am I dreaming?"
Little did we know my grandfather would pass peacefully in his sleep that spring with MomMom becoming weaker from an attack of her "divers". Or as it turned out a very toxic intestinal tract.
At the same time I was getting shots of methotrexate which made me nauseous and cranky. The medicine built up in my system after a few months. The deepest grief came though from losing the baby we were so thrilled to have as an addition to our growing family.
All this to say, I was stinking mad. Mad at God, mad at the world and mad at the losses that piled up day after day.
I took some time off from counseling at our local crisis pregnancy center. We'd said goodbye to our small group at church after several families moved out of the area. The losses were profound. How was I going to survive? How would my faith survive?
I was inconsolable.
The minute I got home, I opened Angel's kennel to let her out. She had been a steadfast friend to me as I found myself mourning the loss of our pregnancy.
My neighbor opened the front door to see how we were. Horrified I watched Angel shoot past my oldest daughter and run to the side of the house towards a busy street behind our home.
Thankfully, my younger child wasn't home and the daughter who was home jumped on her bike to ride down the street missing the sight of a car hitting Angel head on. Her body flew into the air a full ten feet and landed on the grass in front of myself and two neighbors.
Bob our next door neighbor took the long walk with me to the puppy's still body. I could only imagine the worst. Guilt for leaving her all day in the kennel ate away at me with each step. What would I tell our little girls?
Just as we were about five or six feet away, Angel jumped to her feet and ran towards us!
We searched her for any sign of injury. Though the vet couldn't find anything wrong she did walk with a slight tilt to the right after her accident and seemed to have arthritis in her old age.
A friend said to me, "See that is God telling you everything is going to be okay."
The next morning, I woke up with a lighter heart for the first time in several months. Somehow we'd get through these trials with God by our side.
My mom called me that morning. "Kelly after you left yesterday, a male nurse came into your grandmother's room." She said he checked the IV and fluffed her pillows sure to make her as comfortable as possible.
Mom continued. "It was the oddest thing....as the gentleman turned to leave the room, I said, 'God bless you.' I'd never seen him before. At that he turned to your grandmother and said, 'Mary would you like to pray to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?"
Tears of joy poured down my face. My grandmother had prayed to accept Jesus with a stranger mere hours before she passed away.
The next day, my family searched for this kind stranger. No one knew who he was or could tell us his name.
Makes me wonder was he an angel? Or, was he a stranger who obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit?
The Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Sometimes I think about what it will be like to see MomMom and our baby in heaven one day~
I can see her holding our precious baby and hear her say to me "Ah, my girleen, where have you been?"