By Susan Stedman
Secretly, Laura had never wanted to leave Mema’s house. She got all the love and security in her life from those two. She lifted her head when she felt the car stop, surprised that they were parked in Mema’s driveway already. They were the first to arrive.
There was Mema, opening the side door, saying, “Git in this house before you freeze!”
Laura smiled, a bittersweet tear on her cheek. Granddaddy had been gone for twelve years now, with the last five years of his life spent with his tall frame hunched and shrunken in a wheelchair. She remembered how she had ridden on his shoulders while watching the Christmas parade in person, a whole foot higher than everyone around them. As his disease progressed, she had watched his beautiful ice-blue eyes fade and go cloudy; she had held his hand and sang to him the day he died in hospice. Holidays had never been the same for her. Mema had even closed the fireplace and used it only for decoration now.
An obscure Bible verse flashed into her mind. She had never understood exactly what it meant, but today, it was amply clear. “Do not say ‘Why were the old days better than this?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Entering the house, she paused to kiss Mema’s cheek. Despite the extra heat in the house, her skin felt very cold today. Her cheek seemed almost translucent, thin as rice paper, with many more wrinkles than the last time she’d seen her. In less than a month, Mema would be 93 years old. Laura’s mind reeled briefly. How had that happened?
Mema still smiled. She still greeted each descendent with a hug as they came in the door.
Within the half-hour, her mother, sister, two nephews, and niece had arrived. Mema tottered around her immaculately clean kitchen while Laura and her sister laid out the spread. Mema had to ask Joe to open jars for her and Laura saw how gnarled her once-artistically beautiful hands had twisted with arthritis. Yet despite all this, she had spent days putting up elaborate decorations for the children.
Throughout the day, Laura only found herself annoyed when someone got exasperated with Mema’s behaviors. Laura didn’t get upset when Mema repeated the same stories she’d heard dozens of times. She didn’t mind talking much louder so Mema could hear without misperceptions. She didn’t mind cleaning the kitchen and putting away all the holiday trimmings.
Laura spent the whole day watching Mema. She was devastated when, several times, she saw Mema stop and look around in confusion as if she had forgotten something important. What had happened in such a short time?
Another scripture popped into Laura’s mind. God was attentive to her today, He knew what she was feeling. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
Laura got out of her comfy chair, crossed the crowded room, and sat down on the floor at Mema’s feet, laying her head on her grandmother’s lap. It surprised Mema but delighted her, too.
Once again, God sent her another word, two from Job. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”
Much later, as everyone packed their vehicles and were getting ready to leave, Laura hugged Mema very tight and kept hugging for so long that even Mema was surprised.
“What was that for?” she asked.
“I just realized I was missing you a lot,” Laura confessed.
She handed Mema her Bible and opened to Isaiah 46:4. In halting words, Mema squinted and read out loud.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Mema understood. She hugged Laura once more and kissed her cheek.
Laura was unusually quiet all the way home, not afraid now to leave Mema alone because she was in much better hands than her own. She would miss her like crazy when her time came, but she knew that her grandmother would just be relocating and someday, Laura would see her again.
About Rays of Light:
Whereas most blogs are from one writer, these posts are from a variety of authors and styles. These scribes all attend our Kingdom Writers group. We pray our passion to share God's love through writing will encourage you today!
Our writers group meets every 4th Tuesday Night at 7PM in person and/or via zoom. Let us know if you would like to join us.