As the leaves turn colour and drop to the ground, I have an assuredness that winter is near. I never question which season will come next because the same cycle takes place every year. However, I’m currently going through a season of uncertainty.
For the past month, my grandma has been seriously ill.
Since the end of August, we have been volleying between confidence that she will get better, to wondering if she will make it through another day.
However, there’s one thing I know with assuredness, my grandma, a lovely, sweet, and gracious woman, is also a fighter.
Almost 98 years ago, she was born on a farm, in the middle of winter. She weighed about a pound. To keep her warm, the midwife wrapped her well and placed her in a small box on top of the wood-burning stove. Though the odds were stacked against her, my grandma survived. This tiny premature baby survived in a time when there wasn’t state-of-the-art hospitals, neonatal intensive care units, and specialists. Her life is none other than a miracle.
As a little girl, I never tired of this story. My grandma would tell me how my great-grandfather’s wedding band could fit all the way around the bicep of her little arm. She would tell me how she was no bigger than a brick of butter (and would sometimes show me with her petite hands how big a brick of butter was).
I marvelled at this story of how a baby defied all odds… and this wasn’t just any baby, this was my grandma.
My life has been full of moments with this little lady. I remember sleeping over at her house and the large bucket of Lego in her spare bedroom closet. I remember summers of going with her to the family’s saw grinding shop and watching her bustle around lifting saw blades, ringing up purchases, and talking to customers.
I remember family trips with her. She would walk long distances with us, keeping pace and in some instances (like when a bear was involved) would outrun some of the family. She was always content and enjoyed being around her loved ones.
I recollect how she gave me the most practical and most well-used gifts. One of my favourites being a huge illustrated encyclopedia dictionary. This book was massive! It was about 5″ thick, and when I wasn’t using it to look up words, I was using it as a step stool.
I reminisce about the fudge my grandma would make every year for Christmas. I would sit and watch her make this delectable goody. Her little arms stirred the mixture until it was the perfect consistency. She would package our fudge in margarine containers. This treat was a delight and was enjoyed by all who consumed it.
I have decades of memories with this amazing lady. Though small in stature, she’s big in spirit.
My friends, I’m struggling. As these words come forth from my fingertips, I grapple with the emotion of loving so much and not wanting to let go. I wrestle with the sense of feeling blessed for having my grandma as long as I have but greedily wanting to have her here for many more years. I fight the next season because I’m fearful it will be one that I don’t want to experience.
This past weekend we went to the lake for the last time this year. We worked together to prepare the property for winter. We emptied the septic tank and drained the water lines. We cleared the cupboards and fridge. We shut off the power and took precautions to keep the mice away. We covered the trailer and locked the property until next spring.
These preparations are always sad. I usually get teary as we drive away from our summer retreat. However, I take comfort in knowing that there’s always the promise of spring.
In life, we get no promises of tomorrow. We never know if we will see a loved one again. Everything can change in an instant.
I don’t know what the next season will bring. At times, that very thought scares me.
All I can do is live in this season, enjoy this season, and be thankful that regardless of what comes next, my Lord, my God will be with me through every season that follows.
Aw, Jennifer I am sending you so much love and hugs right now. I know this feeling well and we lost my grandmother back in 2010, but she was declining for a few years up to this and I truly didn’t want to let go either. Part of me knew she would be at peace one and for all, but the other part of me selfishly wasn’t ready to let her go – not one bit. There are no words and no easy answer here, but just hope you know I am thinking of you and keeping your grandmother in my prayers now, too. xoxo.
Thank you so much Janine. It’s an emotional time, that’s for sure.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the prayers. Thank you. <3
Oh Jennifer I can totally understand what you’re going through. It was the same with my mother and she was a fighter as well but she finally lost her battle to cancer in late August. It still affects me emotionally but I know that she’s in a better place no longer suffering. You just have to remember all the good times spent with your grandma and all the wonderful memories will be there to keep you going. Love and hugs to you today.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words Amanda. <3
Oh, Jennifer. I know exactly the kind of season you’re in, because I’m right there with you. Hang in there. God will be carrying you through every step of the way. Sending you lots of love and prayers all the way from Texas. Xoxo
Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement. I have peace in knowing that the Lord will sustain me.
Blessings to you my friend.
From ‘no bigger than a brick of butter’ to having made such an impact on your world, your grandmother is amazing.
The next part of her journey might be approaching, but I’m sure she gains comfort in knowing she is so well-loved. I can’t believe how affected I am by this write up of your grandmother – someone I don’t know, but respect from reading about her.
I am sending hugs and wishing you strength during this difficult time.
She is an amazing lady.
Thank you for your kind words and love my friend. It’s truly appreciated. <3
Your grandmother’s story is amazing! My mom was born premature also and was laid in a shoe box on the oven door to stay warm. Although she was bigger than a pound! Your grandmother sounds like a fighter for sure! This post was a great tribute to your grandmother, I hope that you are able to find comfort in knowing God knows what the next season is. My husband’s job is in a bit of an upheaval and we don’t know what is going to happen in the next few weeks, but we are claiming the promise that God’s plans are for good!
She definitely is a fighter.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I’ll be praying for your family too Emily. <3
Jennifer, I am so sorry! My heart goes out to you–again. I saw your post earlier today and typed up a whole comment before my internet went out and deleted the whole thing. Then, just now, I was poking around Mom Babble Writers on FB, saw your post, and thought, “I know that face!” So I am back to say–again–that I am so sorry for your struggle. Your tender post about your sweet grandma strikes me particularly because my husband’s grandma is 93 and is failing just now in a way she–mercifully–hasn’t before. He struggles with wanting to still enjoy her presence on earth as he has known it for so long while at the same time knowing she is going to the presence of her Savior. And, too, uncertainties in the rest of our life swirl around us. Yet: “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock” (Psalm 18:46). So thankful God put your post in front of my eyes again today…praying for you.
Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I’m glad the Lord brought my post to your eyes again too. <3
OH! This reminded me of my grandmother! She was also born very tiny and the doctor said, “Put her in the oven. She won’t make it until morning.” She made it some 80 something years!
Isn’t that neat that our grandmothers started out in very similar circumstances? They never thought my grandma would make it either. Miraculous! Thanks for sharing Jill. <3
I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. I send well wishes, strength, and love through the waves to you and your family as you continue on this journey of life with your grandmother.
P.S. I love the story of her birth and fight. May you have the strength you don’t know if you have to keep fighting too; for yourself, for your grandmother, and for your family. :)
Thank you for your kind words. My grandma’s strength is indeed inspiring. <3
Thanks for sharing about your Grandmother though it must have been hard to put those things into words. As I read your childhood memories I had this sense “this is the kind of grandmother I want to be!” How precious to have such close connection with her.
She’s a wonderful grandmother. Always happy and content.
Thank you for your kind words Belinda. <3
Beautiful words of a beautiful life. Thank you so much for sharing them and letting us in to a very real season of life. What a gift to have such beautiful memories and the surety of an amazing Savior to provide you strength in this season. <3
Thank you for your kind and compassionate words Katie. It blesses me to share the treasure, that is my grandma, with others. <3
Thank you so much for writing so bravely about this! Your words are beautiful, delicate, and wrapped in crazy love. Changing seasons is a hard battle to fight & you are doing so with sweet grace. It was encouraging to read this today. :)
Praying over your day and your process of grief as I hit “post”.
Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers Alison. I’m glad that they encouraged you as well. <3
This is absolutely beautiful. Praying over you as I contemplate all the fragile words you crafted here.
Thank you so much for the prayers Christi. <3
Jennifer I am so sorry. This is a rough time for you and your family. Hugs my friend and sending prayers for strength your way.
Thank you for your kind words my friend. I appreciate the prayers and love. <3
OH dear friend, how my heart aches for yours, as I can just feel it breaking through your emotional words. What an incredibly beautiful love you have for your precious grandmother, and oh how I pray you are blessed with more time to appreciate that now.
I will continue to pray for you to feel His Presence and be comforted by it, as you travel through this tender season of not knowing and anticipating a turn that you don’t want to face.
Thank you so much my friend. It’s an emotional time. She has good days and bad days and everything seems so uncertain but it always is uncertain, isn’t it. She is a huge blessing and I will cherish any time I get with her.
Your kind words and prayers are truly appreciated. Thank you Chris.
Hi Jennifer, it stories like this that fill my heart with hope. Despite being born prematurely and tiny at a time when medical intervention just didn’t happen, she survived and grew into an amazing woman.
It’s not an easy time for you right now, and nothing anyone says or does can make it any easier for you. Take one day at a time, enjoy the here and now and face whatever next season brings when you get there.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words Debbie. My grandma is a pretty amazing little lady.
Hi Jennifer! I have always wondered why God wants us to love each other so deeply, when it will only cause pain when we are finally separated from each other. It doesn’t seem like an easy thing to do.
I guess you are finding out in your journey with your Grandmother that it really isn’t easy to let go. The more we love, the harder it is to do, so no wonder you are struggling. My dad is 90 years old, and has outlived the time frame he was given for his cancer diagnosis. Every day is an immense gift, and a sadness all at once. I do understand your pain.
I will keep you and your loved one in my prayers, as our strength is truly in Him. He will support you and your family in this tough time. Whatever He decides, may you be at peace.
Your prayers, kind words, and encouragement means so much Ceil. Thank you my friend.
Hi Jennifer, everyday is worth so much at this time.
I pray the Lord strengthens you and your family. Please focus on how much a blessing your grandmother has been and don’t worry, God is there with you all.
Praying along with you Jennifer.
Lovely picture by the way!
Loads of Blessings to you
Yes, time is precious right now. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement my friend.
I’m so in the mode right now of thinking about seasons – but of our lives – like you said. How there’s always the promise of spring within us.
Your grandmother’s story is insane. It reminds me of my grandmother who lived to 100 with a spirit I have never seen in another human being.
May your grandmother continue to bring you joy.
Thank you my friend. She is strong and resilient… yet I look at her now and see how fragile she is. These are precious days.
I wish so much that I could hug you right now. I could feel your sadness and fear reading this post. She sounds like such an amazing person, and you are so blessed to have known her and been so close to her, she taught you so many life lessons that you’ll carry on even after she’s gone. Thank you for sharing this difficult season of your life with us, it reminds us all to love the ones around us every single day.
She is amazing Jessica. Everything about her is spirited and loving. I feel so blessed. Thanks for the kind and encouraging words.
Your relationship with your grandma sounds like the relationship I had with my great-grandma Jennifer. They teach us so much and the bond we share with them is so special. I know this time has been difficult for you but whatever happens you’ll have all those memories to cherish.
Thank you Tiffany. I feel so blessed to have my grandma – I will enjoy any time God continues to give us with her.
Your grandma sounds wonderful. What an amazing story her life is! I’ll be praying for you and your family.
Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers Amanda. We truly appreciate it.