Well, this last week has been a very tender one for me. I have witnessed many tender moments and had many a tender feelings in my heart.
Last Monday I headed to Boise to spend some time with my family. My older sister Kim who is pregnant with her first baby was coming into town from California. Shortly after she arrived at the airport on Tuesday afternoon, my grandpa Bigelow (my dad's dad) was admitted to the hospital. He was diagnosed with cancer this summer and is having some complications.
So, to make a long story short we spent a majority of the week at the hospital with my grandpa and grandma. Of course the week did not turn out the way that it was supposed to, or at least the way that we had planned but as I have been able to ponder on the week's experiences over the last 24 hours I am thankful for the week that truly was full of many tender moments. I hope you don't mind if I share a few with you.
One of the things that stands out most in my mind is the way that my dad is handling this whole situation. My dad is an amazing man. He has an optimistic outlook that just doesn't stop. Whenever you ask him how he is doing he smiles and says that he is okay. Even though you know that he leaves at 7:00 every morning and doesn't come home until 11:000 at night because he has been at the hospital. He smiles even though he has spent countless hours working with doctors creating a plan for his dad's health. He still smiles even though he has switched roles with his parents and is now their care taker. He smiles even after having to help calm his father down when he is in so much pain. He smiles every time his mother walks into the room to give her the comfort and peace and reassurance that she so desperately needs. He smiles as he sits by his dad's bedside and holds his hand to let him know that he is there. My dad is incredible and has a very tender and loving heart.
Since arriving in Boise Connor hadn't seen my dad for two days so when he heard us talking about grandpa sick in the hospital, Connor thought it was HIS grandpa. He was very worried. When my dad found out what Connor was thinking he immediately called him to reassure him that he was okay. We took Connor to the hospital where he was able to see my dad and my grandpa to help him understand. It was a very tender moment to see my dad so worried about Connor and his feelings.
Sunday night we took the kids up to the hospital to tell Grandpa and Grandma goodbye since we were leaving in the morning. We took some story books for Grandma to read to the kids. That was a very special and tender moment to watch as both my kids sat on their great grandma's lap as she read them a story. I'm pretty sure that grandma enjoyed the experience just as much, if not more than my kids. My kids are very blessed that they still have and know four of their great grandparents.
As the week grew closer to an end and I knew that each visit to my grandpa could be one of my last, I struggled. After I came home from the hospital on Saturday night I was quite upset. My sister Kim and I were the only ones home and we were trying to comfort one another. My grandma (My mom's mom, my faithful blog readers know grandma!) happened to call and I had the nicest talk with her. That she happened to call when she did, when I needed it so much was a tender mercy of the Lord. She helped me to understand a lot of things and helped me to put things into perspective. I am so thankful for her and the relationship that I have with her. I truly consider her one of my best friends.
One of the most fun times of the week was when we were able to go to the park with my grandma Bigelow and my grandma Weldon. It was a great escape from the hospital for Grandma Bigelow and she had such a great time. I feel very thankful that my sister and I were able to be in town this week so that we could be of service to my grandma and help her have some joy in her sorrow.
One of the most tender moments that I was able to witness this week was the interaction between my grandma and her dear sweet husband. My grandmother was so tender and kind and loving and sweet to my grandpa as he lay in his hospital bed. She would run her fingers through his hair, sit and hold his hand, call him sweetheart, kiss him goodnight as she left, want so badly for him to know that she was there by his side. She kept saying to me that, "it is so hard to watch your sweetheart like this." All these tender expressions of love that my grandma showed to my grandpa were so natural and second hand to her. That was the beauty in it. My grandma was not just being sweet and kind to her husband because he is sick. She treated him with such love and devotion because this is the way that she has always treated him. Now that is a beautiful example of a true love story.
The hardest and most tender moment for me this week, was when I had to tell my grandpa goodbye for the last time. I don't know if I was telling him goodbye because he may pass before I see him again or not. I truly hope that I am blessed with the chance to sit by his side and hold his hand again and have him hear me say that I love him. But if I don't, I am so thankful for the time that I have had with him. One of the nights that I was leaving the hospital my grandfather became aware and lucid and was able to open his eyes. He gave me and my sisters a kiss and told us one by one that he loved us and that he was blessed. This was so special to me and something that I will never forget. But, even if I was not able to have that moment with my grandfather, I would still know that he loves me. I know this because of the way that he has always treated me and my sisters. He loves his grandchildren. It has always been very apparent. That has always been a constant in my life, something that I never doubted. To be loved like that is a true blessing. My grandfather is a blessing.