26 November 2005

With Hearts of Thanksgiving

...we made it through the Thanksgiving Holiday. I hosted my dad's side of the family this year, and it was a full house- 23 for dinner. Aunts, uncles, parents, nephews, brothers and sister-in-law, a cousin, my husband, my 6 children and a grandmother! We had all the traditional favorites, and needed several hours before we could add a single bite of pumpkin roll or eggnog pie to our already full stomachs. In addition to the bounty of our table, we had and have much to be thankful for.

On Tuesday, Grandpa Jim, my dad's dad, woke Grandma Dorothy complaining of shortness of breath and demanding to be taken to the hospital. Once there, he admitted to chest pain and pain which radiated down his arm. Diagnosis: heart attack. He is doing well but is still in hospital for observation. He was scheduled to have knee replacement surgery on Wednesday and had stopped taking his blood thinners in preparation for that surgery. This is what triggered the clots which are blocking several vessels near his heart. I am incredibly thankful to have him in my life just a bit longer.

This past year has been one of intense grief. Last Thanksgiving came only days after we buried my mom's mom, Grandma Shirley. In December, we lost one of my husband's grandmothers. In April, 2 days before the birth of our 6th child, my mom's adopted dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away, surrounded by his family, in early August. To our sadness, the day before Grandpa's funeral, we learned that Bryan's other grandmother, Grandma Sirena, was choosing to discontinue the treatments which were prolonging her life. She was tired of the biweekly blood transfusions and ready to "go home." Bryan had one last chance to fly down to Cali for his goodbye's. She passed on Aug 27th.

Getting the phone call about Grandpa Jim was almost too much. I can't imagine saying goodbye again so soon. The very thought grips my chest with iron strength, making it difficult to breathe. And so, it was with great joy that I spoke with him on Thanksgiving Day. After dinner was over and the dishes washed, we called Grandpa at the hospital. He is an ornery old cuss and complained about the tastless dinner and bragged about his accomplishment of walking two 1/8th mile laps around the cardiac unit. We passed the phone around until everyone old enough to use it had had a chance to talk with him. He is still with us! Thank you, Lord, for this gift of time.

I have been so spoiled. For years, I had this belief that Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and my grandparents would live forever. When Hope and Reagan passed away, my bubble was popped and I felt the slightest tinge of worry. Since then, two grandparents have crossed over and the security of my world is in jeopardy. Silly, isn't it? After all, I believe in eternal life as the gift of Yeshua the Messiah. It just goes to show easy it is to become focused on what we can see and touch.

Lord, give me an increased understanding of eternity. I want to view death as a "see you later," and not as a "lost and gone forever." If this past year is part of the lesson, ease my grief with this sure hope. And, thanks again for this day, for each day. HaShem Yeshua (In the name of Yeshua) Amen.


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