Prayers for My Grandmother

My Grandma Millie, my dad’s mother, celebrated her 93th birthday this past week. Fortunately my dad was able to fly to Illinois to share in the occasion with her. The last time I saw Grandma was when she came to our wedding. It was amazing that she came at all, so very very good to see her there. When she got back home, though, it was clear that it was the last long trip she’d ever make.

One thing that makes me very sad is that she’s never met Isabella or Sophia and I just don’t see how we’re going to get out to visit anytime soon. My fear is that I won’t see her again before she dies. She is a very old woman and is failing fast now.

This Friday she will finally have to move out of her house and into a nursing home. My aunts and uncles done everything they can to keep this day from happening; but it’s become clear she needs round the clock care. She’s lived in that house for about seventy years and even though my dad says things are really falling apart, she can’t see it as anything but the beautiful home where she and my Granddad Addison raised their seven children.

Grandma is suffering from dementia now, often has very little short term memory. She won’t remember who she was just talking to on the phone, wasn’t sure which of her sons one of my aunts was married to, etc. All of her friends are dead and gone. Her best friend right now is a retired parish priest who still lives in the area. But the one thing she clings to is her family: her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At my Aunt Mary’s wedding a few years ago I recall her looking around at her family gathered together, all her children and many of her grandchildren and even a couple of her great-grandchildren, and saying, “We started all this, Addison and I,” with such pride and accomplishment in her voice. Her family is what she lives for.

Anyway, she’ll be moving this Friday and I am sure it will be very traumatic for her. Please keep her in your prayers, that she will have peace and be able to cling to the Lord as so much is taken from her.

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Grandma Millie in 2007 with a portrait my brother Tim drew after a photograph of her as a young woman.

8 Responses to Prayers for My Grandmother

  1. Heather Price April 27, 2009 at 3:43 am #

    Those little purple ones ARE charming. They also spread faster than dandelions, so it’s a good thing they’re cute.
    My neighbor back at my mother’s planted half a dozen around their coach light. Within two years, we had them by our back porch, scattered in our lawn, lots of random places.

    I wish I knew what they were called, too. smile

  2. Melanie Bettinelli April 27, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Giulietta,

    It feels downright ungrateful to say that I don’t love the house; but I knew when we bought it that it would be a house I could live in and even be comfortable in but not a house I”d fall in love with. It isn’t the poor house’s fault that it isn’t charming or quaint or endearing and that it doesn’t live up to my dreams. I’ve perhaps got impossibly high standards.

    The main things I don’t like are the lack of storage space, especially the lack of cabinet space in the kitchen and the smallness of the windows in the kitchen and bedrooms. The windows just seem so needlessly stingy. Oh and the plumbing. The furnace is in the kitchen where the pantry should be and there isn’t room for a hot water tank so it heats water as you need it… which makes it impossible for me to take extremely long hot showers as I love to do. 

    There are other little annoyances here and there. I’m good at finding fault, I guess. But really when I step back there’s nothing I can’t live with. Just things that irk me.

    The yard is the big compensation, though. And now that it is delightfully spring and I’m not cooped up inside, my attitude toward our house has grown much much warmer. I knew that there would be some flowers. I spied the azaeleas and rose bushes and the fruit tree and so I was looking forward to them. But all the perennial bulbs have been a delightful surprise. They are the kind of thing I really wanted to plant and yet might not have got around to for a while. Bulbs aren’t cheap and our first priority has been a vegetable garden. Every new flower that pops up is a little miracle, a present.

    I still wonder who planted them. This house was vacant almost two years and I’m sure the guys who bought it just to renovate and resell didn’t go to the trouble. From what I understand the owners before them were a family that had three children… a set of twins. They lost the house to foreclosure. I think of them sometimes and how their sad loss has been our gain. Did they plant the flowers and never get to see them bloom? I pray that they’ve landed on their feet again and the children have a nice place to play.

    My girls are absolutely gaga over having a yard to play in. It has been so lovely being able to eat outside in our own space. They are doing so well with sharing a room.

    There is going to be a bit of adjustment when Benedict comes. Reshuffling and such. I’m not sure how everything is going to work and where everything will fit. But I’m sure it will work out somehow.

    Anyhow I guess that we’re satisfied. This house has turned out to be by far the best one of all the houses we looked at in our long house hunt. I think we did end up where we were supposed to be. Maybe our next house will have the charm this one lacks. Or maybe my real restlessness and longing for the perfect home will only be satisfied in heaven. After all, the most important thing is that I have my family surrounding me. And so long as I have them, any place can be home.

  3. Melanie Bettinelli April 27, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    Heather, I wouldn’t mind at all if they took over our yard. Though Dom might be of a slightly different opinion…

  4. GB April 27, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    In Italy they’re called “violette”, so I guess they should really be violets grin
    Did you have any idea, when you bought the house, that you would have such a beautiful yard in the spring? I mean, the daffodils, the tulips, the cherry tree (or peach), not to mention the swing set and slide that the girls love so much! Speaking of this, how do you all like the house, now that you’ve been there for a few months? (if you don’t mind my asking…)

  5. Domenico Bettinelli April 28, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    To illustrate Melanie’s last point:

    After I’d finished my first mow of the lawn, front and back, I looked at it satisfied, nodding to myself, and said to Melanie: “Doesn’t the lawn look great?”

    She replied, “I kind of liked it better before.” I think she would prefer it like an English cottage garden.

  6. GB April 29, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Thank you for your answer, Melanie. You made me laugh with your “I’m good at finding fault, I guess” grin
    When I happen to wonder about the inevitable gap between the house of my dreams and the house we will actually be able to afford – when we’re ready to buy, I hope that happens before our kids graduate!! – I am always reminded of the beginning of the first Mary Poppins book, when Mr. Banks puts Mrs. Banks before an alternative: many children or a splendid house, because he couldn’t possibly afford both. And wise Mrs. Banks goes for the children (in the books they have four). Although, I must say, for me a splendid house is simply one where I don’t have to store the vacuum in a corner of my bedroom, like now! wink
    More seriously, I think there’s always a good lesson in this gap between our dreams and what we actually get – be it a house, a job, even a body wink – and, as you say, it helps us put first things first.
    G.

  7. Cathy May 1, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Violets, definitely violets—and very agressive they are too, so I hope you like them.  There is also a wild white variety that’s much prettier IMO, so you may eventually have them too.

  8. Melanie Bettinelli May 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    As far as I’m concerned the violets can take over the lawn. I’m not all that disturbed by the dandelions either. They make my Bella so happy and they look so sunny and cheerful.

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