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.